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X3701 .S88x 

tudies in the spirituality of Jesuits. 

sue: v.35:no.1(2003:Jan.) 

rrival Date: 03/21/2003 

Weill Periodicals 

35/1 • JANUARY 2003 


The Seminar is composed of a number of Jesuits appointed from their provinces in the 
United States. 

It concerns itself with topics pertaining to the spiritual doctrine and practice of 
Jesuits, especially United States Jesuits, and communicates the results to the members of 
the provinces through its publication, STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS. This is 
done in the spirit of Vatican ITs recommendation that religious institutes recapture the 
original inspiration of their founders and adapt it to the circumstances of modern times. 
The Seminar welcomes reactions or comments in regard to the material that it publishes. 

The Seminar focuses its direct attention on the life and work of the Jesuits of 
the United States. The issues treated may be common also to Jesuits of other regions, to 
other priests, religious, and laity, to both men and women. Hence, the journal, while 
meant especially for American Jesuits, is not exclusively for them. Others who may find 
it helpful are cordially welcome to make use of it. 


Robert L. Bireley, S.J., teaches history at Loyola University, Chicago, IL (2001). 
Richard A. Blake, S.J., is chairman of the Seminar and editor of STUDIES; he teaches 

film studies at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA (2002). 
Claudio M. Burgaleta, S.J., is executive director of Estudios Pastorales para la Nueva 

Evangelizacion, in Oceanside, NY (2002). 
James E Keenan, S.J., teaches moral theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, 

Cambridge, MA (2000). 
Lawrence J. Madden, S.J., directs the Georgetown Center for Liturgy, Washington, 

DC (2001). 
Douglas W Marcouiller, S.J., teaches economics at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, 

MA (2000). 
G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., teaches German language and literature at Georgetown 

University, Washington, DC (2001). 
Thomas P. O'Malley, S.J., is associate dean of arts and sciences and teaches in the 

honors program at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA (2000). 
Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., teaches theology at Loyola Marymount University, Los 

Angeles, CA (2002). 
William R. Rehg, S.J., teaches philosophy at St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO 


The opinions expressed in STUDIES are those of the individual authors thereof. 
Parentheses designate year of entry as a Seminar member. 

Copyright © 2003 and published by the Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality 
Publication Office Editorial Office 

Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits Faber House 

3601 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 102 College Road 
(Tel. 314-977-7257; Fax 314-977-7263) Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3841 

(E-mail (Tel. 617-552-0860; Fax 617-552-0925) 


Jesuit Spirituality 
for the Whole of Life 

William A. Barry, S.J. 


35/1 • JANUARY 2003 

The first word 

After several weeks of commuting from suburban Wimbledon to my disser- 
tation work at the British Film Institute in London, I finally got a room at 
Farm Street, within walking distance of my office. Sunday was moving day. 
The visitors' welcome sheet served notice that on Sunday evenings the 
community gathered for an informal buffet supper in the recreation room. 
It seemed the perfect opportunity to mingle and introduce myself to the 
group I would be living with for the next several weeks. 

Reliable guides from this side of the Atlantic warned me about the 
use of proper titles. For the first evening anyway, I was dressed in regimen- 
tal blacks and would be known as "Father Richard Blake," not "Dick." 
Feeling on the brink of an intercultural triumph, I pushed my luck a bit 
too far by asking one of the more grave personages, "And what do you do, 
Father?" Sputtering in disbelief at my cheekiness and recoiling as though 
he had just received a Tysonesque blow to the midsection, he gasped, "I'm 
confessor to a bishop." He spun on his heel, clerical wings flapping over 
the trifle tray, never again to join in conversation with me. 

My first thought was ironic: It must be quite a bishop who has to 
employ a confessor full time. The second was simply uncharitable: This 
must be one of those Jesuits who chose a ministry of leisure before the oils 
of ordination had dried on their palms. He's probably annoyed and embar- 
rassed that someone dared raise the topic of work with him. The third 
thought, which occurred to me several days later, came as a bit of self- 
discovery. As an American, and an eager, ambitious graduate student at 
that, I believed that asking about one's work was the obvious and courte- 
ous strategy to show interest in someone. The dark side of this conversa- 
tional ploy masks a tendency to think of persons in terms of their job, as 
though the two were indivisible. The man I had inadvertently insulted had 
grown up in a different culture, one that has traditionally had room for 
persons whose identity comes from birthright as well as occupation or 

Asking, "What do you do?" offers us Americans a convenient way of 
placing people in categories, and then indirectly of assessing worth. In 
Martin Ritt's The Front (1976), a fine and disturbing film about the era of 
Red hysteria and blacklisting, a television scriptwriter played by Woody 
Allen visits a resort hotel in the Catskills. Spotting an attractive woman 
sitting alone at the bar, he tries to strike up a conversation. Her first ques- 
tion: "And what do you do?" Allen coughs, clears his throat and stammers 
with some note of pride, expecting to impress his quarry, "I'm a writer." 


Her response: "I've got to be going now." Ever the optimist, he tries again 
with another unattached woman. She asks the same question. With wis- 
dom born of defeat, he answers, "I'm a, y'know (cough), a dentist." "Re- 
ally! How fascinating," says the young woman, smiling and fluttering her 
eyelashes, obviously interested in a man whose financial resources may be 
a bit more predictable than those of a writer. 

Assessing worth in terms of occupation, achievement, and recogni- 
tion becomes especially insidious when it shapes one's self-image. Several 
years ago, I remember a late-night conversation with a Jesuit high-school 
teacher who had just received approval for a sabbatical. Everyone who 
knew him realized that he was dying in the classroom and surely needed a 
break in his routine. Religious superiors and school administrators con- 
spired in the plan. He didn't want it, felt he didn't need it, and as a result, 
even as the time drew near, he had no idea of what to do with the time. 
Perhaps he was simply afraid of several months with no classes and half 
sheets to fill the hours. Without a "job" to go to each morning, he might 
well have felt lost. As the group tried to encourage him that evening, some 
of us tried to suggest courses, perhaps even leading to a degree or certifi- 
cate. He became agitated: "Hey, that's not part of the deal. I'm only a 
short-course man." He spent the year doing private reading without leav- 
ing his home city. I wonder how much his self-image and apostolic effec- 
tiveness had been warped by his having failed an oral exam in Scholastic 
philosophy in his early twenties. The "job" at least affirmed his identity, 
even if his low opinion of himself kept him from exploring opportunities 
to grow in it. He created a niche that he might not have liked, but whose 
security and predictability he was terrified to leave. 

Isn't it ironic that we Americans so idealize work and accomplish- 
ment that some of us risk becoming less productive and less dedicated to 
the ministries we do serve? Remember the great exchange in Chariots of Fire 
(1981)? After the hero loses his first race, he tells his girlfriend that he will 
never compete again: "If I can't win, I won't run." Recognizing his self- 
pity, she replies, "If you don't run, you can't win." In the present context 
one might add that simply by running, doing what is possible even if one 
can't win all the races, one is a winner. 

Pardon the terrible pun, but it may further these reflections. A 
Franciscan prays, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." A Jesuit 
prays, "Lord, make me a piece of your instrument." In other words, God 
accomplishes what he wills through the instrument of the Society of Jesus, 
to which we have committed our lives. Not everyone is manuductor, a 
fellow of a learned academy, or a famous preacher. Our specific "job" or 
our personal triumphs actually make little difference in the wider scheme 
of things. We contribute what we can to the best of our ability, and let 
God take care of the results. Simply put, our worth as persons and as 
Jesuits does not depend on our measurable productivity. 


This is important to keep in mind, since each of us faces an inevita- 
ble decline in what we can expect to accomplish in a day. Does this mean 
we are diminished in worth, less Jesuit? In the article that follows, Bill 
Barry explores this highly sensitive and emotionally combustible question. 
Ever the reviewer, I won't reveal the ending of the plot, but I will sound a 
note of gratitude for Bill's honesty and insight about the present condition 
of the Society of Jesus in the United States at present. We've gradually 
become more candid about discussing issues related to the inverted age 
pyramid, with the veterans holding the place of majority in most of our 
communities and "younger" men (a category that now extends well into 
the fifties) in the distinct minority. Some would describe the pyramid 
more as a "goblet" shape, since the precipitous decline in vocations coin- 
cided with the extraordinary rate of departures in the 1960s and 1970s. As 
individuals and as communities, we just didn't seem very well prepared to 
deal with the profound changes in Jesuit life that we are currently experi- 

We are, however, growing more at ease in confronting the practical 
issues, like planning for a retrenchment in apostolic commitments, for 
smaller active communities and larger retirement communities, for new 
financial realities, for medical insurance, and the like. The pages that 
follow provide a great service by moving the conversation to another pla- 
teau by first unearthing elements in Jesuit spirituality that frankly make 
this transition doubly painful for us work-oriented American Jesuits. At the 
same time, as Bill points out, our Ignatian heritage also contains the po- 
tential for accepting this new situation as an opportunity for growth, both 
as a religious community and as individual Jesuits. 

This journal could provide a forum for responding to some of Bill 
Barry's challenging ideas. Letters are always welcome. 

Richard A. Blake, S.J. 



For the first tune in English .... 

All the Latin hymns of the Roman Breviary 


Rejoicing with God in the Hymns of the Roman Breviary 

Martin D. O'Keefe, S.J. 

A new translation and the original Latin 

For reflection/ For study/For prayer 

Familiar hymns such as Pange, Lingua, Gloriosi/ Veni Creator Spiritus/ Ave, 
Maris Stella 

Exsultemus is a resource for prayer, looking to enriching one's spiritual 
life. These nearly 300 Latin hymns are expressions of the Church's faith over 
the centuries, part of its patrimony. Exsultemus makes that patrimony 
accessible to contemporary members of the Church. It is an accurate and 
reverent translation that brings out the hymns' meaning and their character as 

Exultemus is the work of Father Martin D. O'Keefe, S.J., its translator and 
editor. He is also responsible for Oremus , a translation of the appropriately 1500 
collects, prayers over the gifts, and prayers after Communion, prefaces, canons 
and sequences of the Mass, it is also published by the IJS (1993). 

xiv + 397 pp. The Institute of Jesuit Sources 

English and Latin indexes 3601 Lindell Blvd. 

$34.95 paperback only St. Louis, MO 63108 
ISBN: 1-880810-47-6 

Tel: 314-977-7257 Fax: 314-977-7263 IJS@Slu.Edu 



The Heart of Jesuit Spirituality 6 

Ignatius's Own Example 6 

The Example of Jesus (an aside) 10 

Pray As If Everything Depended on Whom? 11 

The Implicit Worldview of the Usual Version 13 

A Hypothetical Example of Discernment 

in the Jesuit Manner 17 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life 20 

The Purpose of the Spiritual Exercises 20 

Indifference 22 

A Life-long Process 23 

Another Example from Ignatius's Life 24 

Jesuit Spirituality: A Summary 25 

Does It Work? 27 

Two Personal Examples 27 

The Fruits of These Experiences 32 

Some Questions for This Spirituality 34 

The "Inverted Pyramid 7 ' 39 

Conclusion 43 





by Paul Shore 

Villains or heroes in the perspective of earlier writers, the 
Jesuits of eighteenth-century Bohemia, at that time ruled by the 
Hapsburgs, played a large role in its life. Headquartered in 
Prague, but working throughout the land, the Society directed 
schools and universities, gave the Spiritual Exercises, preached 
missions, promoted its Baroque aesthetic in architecture, 
sculpture, painting and drama. Based on primary sources, some 
never seen for two hundred years, this book details the 
accomplishments of Jesuits priests, brothers, teachers, scholars 
and scientists in the intellectual and cultural life of the 

Dr. Paul Shore is a member of the faculty at Saint Louis 
University in the Department of Educational Studies and the 
Department of History. 

xiii * 267 pp. 
Tel: 314-977-7257 

3601 Lindell Blvd. 

Fax: 314-977-7263 

ISBN 1-880810-46- 
St. Louis. N 

William A. Barry, S.J., currently co-director of the 
tertian program for the New England Province, 
completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychol- 
ogy at the University of Michigan after his ordi- 
nation in 1962. Formerly vice-provincial for for- 
mation, rector of the Boston College community, 
and provincial, he lives at Campion Center, in 
Weston, Mass., where he gives retreats, offers 
spiritual direction and continues his many writ- 
ing projects. His extensive list of publications 
includes his most recent book, Contemplatives in 
Action: The Jesuit Way (Paulist, 2002) which he 
co-authored with Robert Doherty, S.J. 


Jesuit Spirituality 
for the Whole of Life 

Through the Spiritual Exercises and the Constitutions, 
Jesuits have thoroughly learned the lessons of apostolic 
spirituality. Both our lives and our communities serve 
the ministry. When age or illness limit involvement with 
the works, however, a Jesuit can feel a profound sense of 
loss. Revisiting certain key elements of Ignatius's thought 
can provide the basis of a vigorous apostolic life that 
continues throughout a Jesuit's life. 


The Society of Jesus, along with the public at large, is encoun- 
tering a brand-new phenomenon, an unprecedented growth 
in the number and percentage of elderly members. The trend 
is not likely to end soon, according to researchers Jim Oeppen and 
James Vaupel. Since 1840, they note, the highest average life expec- 
tancy has risen by a quarter of a year every year with no end in 
sight. Centenarians may become commonplace within the lifetimes 
of people living today. 1 Can Jesuit spirituality help us to cope with 
this unprecedented situation of aging and its consequences? 

I am grateful to Ronald A. Amiot, S.J., John J. Banks, S.J., Robert G. Doherty, 
S.J., Marika Geoghegan, James M. Keegan, S.J., Robert E. Lindsay, S.J., Paul T. Lucey, 
S.J., James T. Sheehan, S.J., and Myles N. Sheehan, S.J., who read and made helpful 
comments on drafts of this paper. 

Reported by BBC News on the Internet, May 9, 2002. 

2 ^ William A. Barry, S.J. 

On the face of it, the question seems to require a negative 

answer. After all, Jesuit spirituality is a spirituality of service; its 

heroes are men like Francis Xavier, Peter Claver, and even Ignatius 

of Loyola himself. What is extolled in the lives of these and similar 

Jesuits is their indefatigable zeal, their 

^^^^_^^^^^^^^_ boundless energy, and their ability to 

, f , f , overcome numerous obstacles in the 

It seems that we would , ., „ , , . „ _, 

T . , . , . pursuit of the good of souls. Readers 

have to do violence to c ,. c T ., . , u 

. of lives of Jesuit saints and heroes 

Ignatian and Jesuit may wonder whether some of thege 

spirituality to find men ever sl Just one examplG/ ad _ 

within it a spirituality mittedly from a tireless worker: It is 

that would help us with related of Francis Xavier that „ up and 
the new phenomenon of down the dreary/ inhospitable land of 
longevity and Travancore he baptized in the course 

its consequences. f a single month more than ten thou- 

^ __^^^^^^^ sand persons. Taking a twelve-hour 

day, that would have come to about 
one baptism every two minutes for thirty days consecutively. ,,2 We 
can presume that Xavier did more in a day than just baptize. Physi- 
cal illness and the problems of an aging body are not given much 
play in the lives of men like Xavier. They were hindrances to their 

Ignatius's own spirituality has been characterized as a mysticism 
of service, as distinct from a bridal or a victim-soul mysticism. 3 After 
noting that Ignatius suffered from ill health from the time of his 
excessive penances at Manresa, Harvey Egan writes as follows: 

Nonetheless, Ignatius did not passively accept this ill health. Whereas 
suffering-servant mystics would have rejoiced in their infirmity as a 
way of sharing in Christ's sufferings, because of his service mysti- 
cism, Ignatius employed all human means possible to have his health 


James Broderick, The Origin of the Jesuits (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1986; 
originally 1940), 124. Francis himself is the source of the numbers cited. 


See Joseph de Guibert, The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice: A 
Historical Study, trans. William J. Young (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 
1964), and Harvey D. Egan, Ignatius Loyola the Mystic (Wilmington, Del.: Michael 
Glazier, 1987). 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <0> 3 

For example, when Ignatius's doctors told him he would go blind 
unless he curbed his mystical gift of tears, Ignatius did so. St. Francis 
of Assisi angrily rejected the same advice. 4 

It seems that we would have to do violence to Ignatian and Jesuit 
spirituality to find within it a spirituality that would help us with the 
new phenomenon of longevity and its consequences. 

In addition, our spirituality may pose an even more formida- 
ble obstacle for us as we face these consequences. The words of the 
Formula of the Institute are etched into our souls as our "pathway to 
God." A Jesuit 

is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive 
especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the 
progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public 
preaching, lectures, and any other ministration whatsoever of the 
word of God, and further by means of the Spiritual Exercises, the 
education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity, and the 
spiritual consolation of Christ's faithful through hearing confessions 
and administering the other sacraments. Moreover, he should show 
himself ready to reconcile the estranged, compassionately assist and 
serve those who are in prisons or hospitals, and indeed to perform 
any other works of charity, according to what will seem expedient 
for the glory of God and the common good. 5 

No place here, it seems, for ailing and aging bodies and tired spirits. 
Is it any wonder that Jesuits want to die with their boots on? In 
addition, most of the readers of STUDIES are citizens of the United 
States and thus embedded in U.S. culture. The spirituality that 
undergirds these words feeds the workaholic syndrome that sits 
deep inside the psyche of many North Americans. 

Perhaps we should not expect a spirituality that arose in the 
sixteenth century to grapple with the twentieth- and twenty-first- 
century phenomenon of aging and its consequences. After all, 
people died young in those days. Few of the first generation of 
Jesuits, indeed of any generation until ours, lived into their eighties. 
Ignatius was, for his time, relatively old when he died at sixty-four. 


Egan, Loyola the Mystic, 139. 

The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and Their Complementary Norms (St. 
Louis, The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996), no. 1 (pp. 3 f.). Hereafter this source will 
be abbreviated to ConsCN followed by the marginal number cited. As a convenience, 
the page number will be added in parentheses. 

4 «0- William A. Barry, S.J. 

Francis Xavier died in his forty-seventh year. I recall being some- 
what taken aback when, as a student contemplating my entrance 
into the Society, I noted the ages of the Jesuits buried at the College 
of the Holy Cross. There were very few old men buried in that 
cemetery in those days (1950). The main issue for a spirituality prior 
to our era was how to die well, not how to live well as one faced the 
inevitable diminishments of aging, an issue we face in this new age. 
So in the Constitutions Ignatius writes: 

As during his whole life, so also and even more at the time of his 
death, each member of the Society ought to strive earnestly that 
through him God our Lord may be glorified and served and his 
neighbors may be edified, at least by the example of his patience and 
fortitude along with his living faith, hope, and love of the eternal 
goods which Christ our Lord merited and acquired for us by those 
altogether incomparable sufferings of his temporal life and death. 6 

In an age when death was expected at a relatively early age (at least, 
according to our reckoning) and debilitating sickness did not last 
long, there was, seemingly, no need to develop spiritual resources 

for the odd case of a lengthier life and 
^ ^^^^^_^^^^^_ a prolonged time of retirement from 

active ministry. 

I believe that the _ .. . , , 

..,,., , Better diets and the advances of 

spirituality we need , ,. . 

J * ., ,. modern medicine and immunology 

tor our present situation u , u . . , 

3 £ . have brought us to a new era where 

has to be continuous we may wonder whether a spirituality 
with the spirituality developed so much earlier can serve 
that has influenced our us . Most of us can expect to experi- 
lives thus far. ence the effects of old age: the waning 
of our physical capacity, more fre- 
quent aches and pains, the inability to 
get up and walk with ease, occasional incontinence, frequent urina- 
tion at night, loss of sharp memory ("senior moments"). Some of us 
worry about living months, even years, debilitated by a stroke or by 
dementia or Alzheimer's disease. We can also expect to have to leave 
active ministry and, perhaps, to move to a retirement or nursing 
facility. We could sift the writings of Ignatius and the early Jesuits 
for crumbs that might serve our purposes. Often enough in popular 

6 ConsCN 595 (p. 266). 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life -0- 5 

writing one can find instances of this practice: A sainted founder in 
1605, one might read, wrote to a sick brother and counseled him on 
how to bear his sickness; these counsels are then elaborated to 
become the founder's spirituality for our time. We could cite Igna- 
tius, for example, who wrote in the Constitutions: 

In their illnesses all should try to draw fruit from them, not only for 
themselves but for the edification of others, by not being impatient 
or difficult to please, but instead having and showing great patience 
and obedience toward the physician and infirmarian, and employing 
good and edifying words which show that they accept the sickness 
as a gift from the hand of our Creator and Lord, since it is a gift no 
less than is health. 7 

However, the question remains whether such obiter dicta flow 
from the intrinsic nature of the spirituality so that the same princi- 
ples apply throughout life, not only during sickness. Do these words 
of the Constitutions, for example, flow from the essence of Jesuit 
spirituality? I believe that the spirituality we need for our present 
situation has to be continuous with the spirituality that has influ- 
enced our lives thus far. In some real way our aging and diminish- 
ment have to be part and parcel of the total package so that Jesuits 
can embrace sickness as no less a gift than health. 

In this essay my main audience are those Jesuits still active in 
ministry. My hope is to present Jesuit spirituality in a way that will 
help us to approach active ministry and eventual retirement from 
active ministry in the same spirit. If the focus on aging seems to be a 
long time in coming, bear with me. I want to demonstrate my belief 
that a true Jesuit spirituality of active apostolic service can carry us 
through the whole of life, including into the later years. If what I 
write also helps those already retired from active ministry, I will be 
doubly happy. In addition, in this essay my main focus will be the 
individual Jesuit, not the corporate body. Hence, I use personal 
examples. I believe that Jesuit spirituality can also speak to us as a 
body, and I will make one suggestion in this regard later, but to 
demonstrate that belief would require a much longer development 
and may be beyond my ability. 

7 Ibid., 272 (p. 120). 

6 ^ William A. Barry, S.J. 

The Heart of Jesuit Spirituality 

Ignatius's Own Example 

Where to start? Perhaps we should begin at the heart of 
Ignatian and Jesuit spirituality. Ignatius gave himself completely to 
the work of governing the nascent Society of Jesus, especially to 
setting in place those structures and ways of proceeding that gave 
the best guarantee that the Society would survive its shaky begin- 
nings. He spent untold hours writing letters not only to his far-flung 
men who needed counsel on how to proceed but also to people who 

might be able and willing to supply 
__^ _^ _ _ funds for the many institutions that 

this young Society was establishing 
In some real way our throughout the world. He also gave 

aging and diminishment himself wholeheartedly to the work of 
have to be part and writing constitutions, as required by 

parcel of the total the papal bulls of institution, but also 

package of our Jesuit by common sense if the Society was to 

spirituality, so that thrive as a new religious order. The 

Jesuits can embrace first sentence of the Preamble to the 

sickness as no less a gift Constitutions indicates the spirit with 
than health. which l S nat[us engaged in the work 

of writing them, but also shows how 
^— ^— •— — ■ ^— ^— he engaged in all the other activities 

that made up his working day. 8 In it 
Ignatius notes that God is the One who will preserve and direct 
''this least Society." Yet God wants our cooperation; hence, constitu- 
tions are needed because God wants the Society of Jesus to exist and 
to remain in being, but neither the wisest constitutions nor their 
strictest observance will guarantee the existence and well-being of 
the Society of Jesus. For such a guarantee Jesuits must count on 
God, who wants "this least Society" to exist. In fact, only if our 
observance of the Constitutions is permeated with such an absolute 
trust in God will the Society flourish. 

We can see how Ignatius's own trust in God's designs worked 
itself out by examining an incident reported by Gonqalves da Cama- 
ra. In 1555 Ignatius heard that Gian Pietro Carafa had been elected 

8 Ibid., 134 (p. 56). 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <& 7 

pope and had taken the name Paul IV. When Ignatius was in Venice 
before the founding the Society, it seems that he had offended 
Carafa, the founder of the Theatines. Thus, Ignatius had reason to 
believe that the new pope would not be favorable to the fledgling 
Society. In addition, Carafa was known to have strong prejudices 
against Spaniards, many of whom were prominent in the Society's 
governance; he was known as well to favor changes in the Society's 
ways of proceeding that Ignatius considered essential to its very 
existence. Da Camara notes that at the news of Carafa's election 

the Father experienced a notable agitation and his face altered, and, 
as I knew later, either from him or from older Fathers to whom he 
recounted it, he felt shaken to the depths of his body. He got up 
without saying a word and entered the chapel to pray; and shortly 
afterward, he came out as joyous and content as if the election had 
been totally in accordance with his desire. 9 

Clearly, Ignatius was shocked by the news of Carafa's election. It is 
likely that he feared for the very existence of the Society of Jesus as, 
he believed, God wanted it. But a few moments of prayer in the 
chapel seem to have re- 
stored him to his usual ^^^^^^^^^^— ^^^^^^^^^^— 

equanimity. This tells us Qod coM mQm I tim to act 

something very important . j x , . 

. .. ¥ i. , . .r j.,_ in one way and others to act 

about Ignatius s spirituality. . , J TT r , , 

in a contrary way. tie would do 
Ignatius believed Ms . and lmve fhe ultimate 

that God wanted the Soci- * . . , , j*^j 

e T . . decision to events and to God. 

ety of Jesus to exist, with 

Ignatius himself at its — — — — ^— *— i 

head. The first words of 

the Preamble of the Constitutions testify to the first belief. The story 

of how he was almost dragooned into accepting the office of general 

superior testifies to the second. When the First Companions elected 

him, he refused the office and begged them to reconsider. Even after 

they had repeated the election with the same result, he refused until 

his confessor told him that to refuse would be to resist the will of 

God. Once he had accepted this judgment, Ignatius showed not a 

hint of hesitation in governing and, as we have already noted, gave 


From the Memoriale of Goncalves da Camara, cited in Ignatius of Loyola and 
the Founding of the Society of Jesus, by Andre Ravier, trans. Maura Daly, Joan Daly, and 
Carson Daly (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), 477. 

8 <0> William A. Barry, S.J. 

himself heart and soul to nurture this small and very vulnerable 
religious congregation toward vibrant life, convinced as he was that 
God wanted it. 

With the election of Carafa, I believe, he faced the real possi- 
bility that the Society of Jesus would be dismantled or, at the least, 
that the pope would alter what he considered essential to its life and 
purpose as God's instrument. Hence, the visible shock. But after a 

few moments of prayer in the chapel, 
^ «_^ he became calm and happy again. Da 

"I do not see that there Camara may exa SS erate when he 

uu writes that I S natius acted as thou g h 

would be any the e i ect j on were totally in conformity 

contradiction, since the with his own desires, but he probably 

same Spirit could move does not exaggerate the difference 

me to this action that the few minutes in the chapel 

for certain reasons and made in Ignatius's disposition. How 

others to the contrary was this possible? If God wants the 

for other reasons, and Society of Jesus to exist, then Igna- 

thus bring about the tius— and all Jesuits— must do all in 

result desired their power to assist God's initiative. 

by the emperor/' But Jgnatius— and a11 Jesuits— cannot 

control all the factors that impinge on 
^ ^— ^ the existence of the Society. They can- 
not control who is elected pope, for 
example. So if God wants the Society to continue in existence, it is 
up to God to write straight with what seemed the crooked line that 
the election of Carafa as pope seemed to present. 10 

I am reminded of Ignatius's own description of his decision to 
spend his life in Jerusalem. 11 Given his insistence on remaining in 
Jerusalem, even against strong pressure from the Franciscan provin- 
cial, one can argue, as does Leo Bakker, that when Ignatius made 
the decision to go to Jerusalem and to live and die there, he was 

The reference is to a quotation placed as the frontispiece of his play "Le 
Soulier de Satin" by Paul Claudel. It is a Portuguese proverb that goes, "God writes 
straight with crooked lines." 

See A Pilgrim's Testament: The Memoirs of St. Ignatius of Loyola, trans. 
Parmananda R. Divakar (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1995), 61-63, nos. 
46 f. Hereafter this source will be abbreviated to PilgTest, followed by the paragraph 
number and, for convenience, the page number in parentheses. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life -& 9 

making an election in the first time; that is, an election so clearly 
God's will that he could not doubt it. 12 But when threatened with 
excommunication by the Franciscan provincial, Ignatius concluded 
that "it was not our Lord's will that he remain in those holy 
places/ 713 Ignatius continued for some years to believe that God 
wanted him to spend his life in Jerusalem, as becomes clear when 
we realize that twelve years later, now with nine companions, he 
spent two years in Venice trying to get passage to Jerusalem. Since 
the choice of living and working in Jerusalem came from God, it 
seems that Ignatius felt obliged to do all in his power to carry it out. 
Only when insurmountable obstacles blocked him did he decide that 
God meant something different for him. 

A further incident tells a similar story. In 1552 Emperor 
Charles V presented the name of Francis Borgia, now a Jesuit priest, 
to Pope Julius III, recommending that he be given the cardinal's hat, 
and the pope was disposed to accede to his request. Ignatius wrote 
to Borgia an account of his own experience and his process of 
discernment as to what he, Ignatius, should do in this regard. After 
three days of some emotional turmoil and prayer, Ignatius came to 
the conclusion that he should do all in his power to stop the pro- 
cess. He writes: 

I felt sure at the time, and still feel so, that, if I did not act thus, I 
should not be able to give a good account of myself to God Our 
Lord — indeed, that I should give quite a bad one. 

Therefore, I have felt, and now feel, that it is God's will that I 
oppose this move. Even though others might think otherwise, and 
bestow this dignity on you, I do not see that there would be any 
contradiction, since the same Spirit could move me to this action for 
certain reasons and others to the contrary for other reasons, and thus 
bring about the result desired by the emperor. May God our Lord 
always do what will be to His greater praise and glory. 14 


Leo Bakker, Freiheit und Erfahrung: Redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen 
iiber die Unterscheidung der Geister bei Ignatius von Loyola (Wiirzburg: Echter Verlag, 
1970). The reference to the election in the first time is from the Spiritual Exercises, no. 
175. See George E. Ganss, The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius: A Translation and 
Commentary (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1992). Hereafter this source will 
be abbreviated to SpEx, followed by the marginal number. 

U PilgTest 63, no. 47. 

Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola, selected and trans. William J. Young (Chicago: 
Loyola University Press, 1959), 258. 

10 <> William A. Barry, S.J. 

Ignatius, it seems, had a remarkable trust in God even when 
events turned out differently from what he had, with much effort, 
discerned to be God's desire. But here we find a key notion. Ignatius 
had the humility to know that he was only one actor in an im- 
mensely complex set of actors and factors that make up the history 
of the world. God could move him to act in one way and others to 
act in a contrary way. Ignatius would do his part and leave the 
ultimate decision to events and to God. With these vignettes we 
come close to the heart of Ignatian spirituality and closer to an 
answer to our initial question. 

The Example of Jesus (an aside) 

Over and over Ignatius begged for "an interior knowledge of 
Our Lord, who became human for me, that I may love him more 
intensely and follow him more closely" (SpEx 104). 15 In contempla- 
tion Jesus revealed his heart and mind 
to Ignatius, who conceived of this 
Jesus went forward [to "least congregation," as he called the 

his passion] in faith, company of Jesus, as analogous to the 

trusting that his Father apostles gathered around Jesus. In the 
would write straight 8 arden of Gethsemane, Jesus himself 

• .i .1 • y j »• agonized over what he was about to 

with this crooked line. ° T¥ _ e . 

T . . , . J., do. He was a Jew, a member of the 

^. , A ' „ . v. people chosen by God to be the light 

tried to follow in his of the world/ a people who prayed 

Master's footsteps. regularly for the coming of God's 

_ ^ mm Messiah to make them the light of the 

world. Jesus grew up in a time of 
great turmoil among a people whose expectations of the imminent 
coming of the Messiah were very strong. Jesus believed that he was 
the fulfillment of God's promise and of the fervent expectations of 
his people. God wanted him to be the Messiah, and God wanted his 
people to accept this Messiah. Jesus believed this and did all in his 
power to bring about God's desire. Now he faced the fact that his 
people would reject him and turn him over to the Romans to be 

In this paragraph I use my own understanding of the historical Jesus and 
my own contemplation of the Gospels to make the point. I do not maintain that 
Ignatius had a modern consciousness of biblical studies and of the historical Jesus. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <f 11 

crucified. They would miss the "one-off moment of their history as 
God's people. Jesus could not, as a human being with a human 
consciousness, know how God would still save his people. No 
wonder he was in agony. It may have been not only an agony over 
the awful way of dying, but even more an agony about his people, 
his mission, and the future. But he was able to say: "Abba, Father, 
for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not 
what I want, but what you want" (Mark 14:36). Jesus went forward 
in faith, trusting that his Father would write straight with this 
crooked line. Ignatius, in his life, tried to follow in his Master's 

Pray As If Everything Depended on Whom? 

There is a saying often attributed to Ignatius that goes like 
this: "Pray as if everything depended on God; work as if everything 
depended on you." In a long appendix to volume 1 of his analysis of 
the structure and dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises, Gaston Fessard 
traces the historical background of the saying. 16 A Swiss Jesuit some 
years after Ignatius's death created some pithy sayings attributed to 
Ignatius (Scintillae or "little sparks"). These were based on things 
Ignatius wrote and said and on his spirituality, but they were not 
direct quotations. Fessard argues cogently that the following Latin 
version in those Scintillae corresponds to Ignatian spirituality. "Haec 
prima sit agendorum regula: sic Deo fide, quasi rerum successus 
omnis a te, nihil a Deo, penderet; ita tamen iis operam omnem 
admove, quasi tu nihil, Deus omnia solus sit facturus." 17 A rough 
translation: "Let this be the first rule of action: trust in God as 
though the success of the venture depended solely on you, not on 
God; at the same time give yourself to the work as though God 
alone were to do everything." In other words, the saying means 
exactly the opposite of the usual one attributed to Ignatius. It should 
run, "Pray as if everything depended on you; work as if everything 
depended on God." 

Gaston Fessard, La Dialectique des Exercices Spirituels de Saint Ignace de Loyola, 
vol. 1 (Paris: Aubier, 1966). 


"Selectae S. Patris nostri Ignatii sententiae/' no. II, in Thesaurus spiritualis 
Societatis Jesu (Rome: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1948), 480. This thesaurus was given 
to all Jesuit novices in the days when Latin was the lingua franca of the Society. 

12 <> William A. Barry, S.J. 

If one lived by this spirituality, one would indeed do all in 
one's power to discover God's desire with regard to one's actions. 

Ignatius did this repeatedly, as can be 
seen in the way he acted when he 
was elected general superior and 
when Borgia was threatened with the 
cardinal's hat. Then, having ascer- 
tained, to the best of his ability, what 
God desired, he could work with all 
his energy and elan to carry out this 
plan, while leaving it up to God how 
his efforts would turn out. Ignatius's 
Master was his exemplar. Again, Igna- 
tius's words to Borgia attest to such an 
attitude, as does his demeanor when 
he heard of Carafa's election: after a 
few moments in the chapel, he re- 
gained his composure. With this 'Tittle 
spark," I believe, we are at the heart 
of Jesuit spirituality and have the clue 
that will enable us to see how that 
spirituality prepares us for the conse- 
quences of increased longevity. 

In a conference given in Rome, 
Peter-Hans Kolvenbach made the bold statement that Ignatius was 

the first person in the history of Christian spirituality to perceive the 
Trinity as God at work — as the God who continues to work, always 
filling up the universe and actively awakening the divine life in all 
things for the salvation of humanity. If the inspired monk contem- 
plates, the inspired Ignatius works — adhering with all his heart to 
the designs of the Trinity, offering himself to act in synergy with the 
Trinity so that his work is for the Trinity's glory. 18 

This Ignatian insight is spelled out in the Contemplation to Attain 
Love, where exercitants ask to experience "how God dwells in 
creatures" (SpEx 235), "how God labors and works for me in all the 
creatures on the face of the earth" (236), "how all good things and 

The usual version, "Pray 
as if everything 
depended on God, work 
as if everything 
depended on you, " easily 
leads to an implicit 
worldview in which 
there are two spheres of 
activity — our ordinary 
world that goes on as 
though God had nothing 
to do with it — and a 
supernatural world 
where God acts and 
from which he 
occasionally intervenes 
in our ordinary world. 


'Ignatius of Loyola: Experience of Christ," in The Road from La Storta, by 
Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. (Saint Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2000), 23. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life ^ 13 

gifts descend from above" (237). Union with God, as Ignatius saw it, 
means union with God who is always active in this world. Anyone 
imbued with his spirituality wants his or her actions to be united 
with the Trinity's action, the Trinity's work, which is, among other 
things, world history. How does one attain this desire? By doing 
everything one can to let God choose one's life course. The election 
of the Spiritual Exercises is not first and foremost "my" election, but 
God's. In the Colloquy of the Two Standards, for example, I beg 
"that I may be received under his standard . . . , in the most perfect 
spiritual poverty; and also, ... if he should wish to choose me for it, to 
no less a degree of actual poverty" (147). 19 I am asking God to elect 
me and to give me the grace to accept God's election. 

Michael Buckley, commenting on the fifth of the Introductory 
Explanations (Annotations), writes thus: 

I know of no spirituality . . . that encourages a person at the begin- 
ning of the journey to deal with the infinite mystery of God mag- 
nanimously. The effect of this liberality with God is a peculiar provi- 
dence, the third stage of the annotation: God can accept the liberty 
and desires that have been offered, and this acceptance means that 
he can enter, dispose, employ, and pattern that life as he wishes. To 
offer God one's desires and liberty is in some way the equivalent of 
offering him "all his person and all that he has." 20 

In other words, I want God to shape my life for God's own pur- 
poses. Hence, I pray as if everything depended on me; that is, I 
want my actions to be one with God's action because how I act is 
important to God — for God's mysterious purposes. Once I have been 
chosen, "elected," I can act with great confidence because everything 
depends on God. 21 

Italics mine. 


Michael J. Buckley, "Freedom, Election, and Self-Transcendence: Some 
Reflections upon the Ignatian Development of a Life of Ministry," in Ignatian 
Spirituality in a Secular Age, ed. George P. Schner (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier 
University Press, 1984), 68. 


In his Freiheit und Erfahrung, Bakker makes a similar point. "The question is 
whether God will allow the exercitant, whether God will choose him, to take on the 
poor and humiliated slave's form which he has been contemplating in the earthly life 
of the eternal King" (255, translation mine). 

14 <0> William A. Barry, S.J. 

The Implicit Worldview of the Usual Version 

The usual version, 'Tray as if everything depended on God, 
work as if everything depended on you/' easily leads to an implicit 
worldview in which there are two spheres of activity — our ordinary 
world that goes on as though God had nothing to do with it — and a 
supernatural world where God acts and from which God occasion- 
ally intervenes in our ordinary world. Most of us older Jesuits grew 
up with this version. Men brought up on such a spirituality could 
effectively live in two worlds that rarely intersect and, when they 
did, only by divine, supernatural intervention. I believe that I lived 
with such an implicit worldview before the recovery of a more 
authentic Ignatian spirituality. 22 

When I studied clinical psychology and later taught at the 
University of Michigan, I became a pretty good psychotherapist. 
None of my clients in psychotherapy ever talked about religious or 
spiritual matters, and I took it for granted that they would not 
mention such matters. At the same time I centered my daily life 
around a concelebrated Eucharist and a very close community of 
religious men and women. In the morning I would pray before or 
after breakfast and then head off to the university to study, teach, 
and engage in psychotherapy; late in the afternoon I went to the 
chapel of the local Catholic hospital, where a relatively large group 
of us celebrated daily Mass. The working day was, at it were, sand- 
wiched between religiously meaningful events, but it had nothing to 
do with the "bread 7 ' of the sandwich, at least as far as my conscious 
life was concerned. If asked, I would have said that God is, of 
course, present in everything; but I did not live as though this were 
true. Even when a professor told me that his clients had begun to 
speak of religious matters spontaneously after he had come to terms 
with his own orthodox Jewish religious background, I did not make 
the connection with what was going on in my own life. 

When I was assigned to Weston Jesuit School of Theology and 
began to do counseling with Jesuits preparing for ordination, noth- 
ing much changed. None of these men, in the final stages of prepa- 
ration for the priesthood, ever talked about experiences of God in 


In a recent discussion with tertians, we speculated that this implicit 
worldview might still govern the thought processes and actions of many Catholics, 
lay and clerical. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <& 15 

weekly or even twice-weekly sessions that touched on very intimate 
aspects of their lives, nor did I wonder at this. In fact, what my 
Jewish professor maintained was true of himself in his early years as 
a therapist may well have been true of me as well; namely, that my 
own unconscious expectation that religious issues had no place in 
psychotherapy communicated itself to my Jesuit clients in some way; 
thus they too imbibed the layer-cake spirituality that imprisoned me. 
I was still living in a two-layered world where natural and supernat- 
ural rarely intersected. 

Only when we began training for giving the Spiritual Exercises 
to individuals did this layer-cake worldview collapse. I began to use 
the listening and counseling skills learned at Michigan to help 
people grow in their relationship with God and in the process began 
to find God in all things. 

What still surprises me is 

that I had read Fessard's 

Dialectique while in theol- "Let this be the first rule of action: 
ogy, made such note of the trust in God as though the success 
appendix that it still stands of the venture depended solely on 

in my memory more than you, not on God; at the same time 
forty years later, and yet g j ve yourself to the work as though 
had not made the connec- God a i one were to do everything/' 

tion to my lived life. The 

worldview I imbibed both ~^-^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^~^ 
before my entrance into 

the Society and in my early years as a Jesuit had a life of its own 
that was not dented by theory. It only really shifted through paying 
attention to my own experience and to that of those who honored 
me by speaking of their lived relationship with God. 

The older view showed itself also in 1969 in the way I ap- 
proached my assignment after Michigan. It never occurred to me to 
pray for God's guidance when the provincial asked me to send my 
resumes to all the institutions of higher education in the province. 
From conversations prior to beginning my doctoral studies, I pre- 
sumed that I would be assigned to Weston Jesuit School of Theol- 
ogy. So, though I did send off the resumes and was interviewed at 
Weston and at Boston College, I did not engage in an attempt at 
discerning God's will. I must have felt that the interview process 
would be a formality. Whether the provincial prayed for God's 

.16 <fc William A. Barry, S.J. 

guidance in his assignment I do not know. But I have my doubts, 
since he was probably operating from the same worldview as I. 

What might have been my reactions if I had not been assigned 
to Weston, but rather to one of our universities? I am, by nature, 
relatively easily satisfied wherever I am. But I suspect that, at least at 
first, I would have been quite angry with that decision and would 

have wondered about the provincial's 
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ wisdom. I would have tried to see the 

assignment as the will of God; but if it 
With a more authentic had not worked out well, that is, if I 

version of Jesuit were unhappy and unsuccessful, I 

spirituality, I would might well have been resentful that 

have acted with a superiors had made this decision. I 

greater sense of believe that the seeds of such resent- 

indifference and freedom ment reside in the two-tiered world- 
in accepting the view we imbibed as y° un 8 J esuits - 

decisions of superiors Within that worldview ' if something 

, aT £ goes wrong in an assignment, there 

and the consequences of ° u , ^ , ~T. ' , T 

,. . ' , J can be only two explanations. Either I 

living in a complex am at fauh or the superior is Tf , am 

world where God is at fault/ it is because j have not done 

actively at work. enough to make the assignment work 

^^^^^^^_^^^^^^^_ or am not talented enough to do what 

is expected; these conclusions quickly 
engender self-doubt and depression. If the superior is at fault, on the 
other hand, then my resentment is justified; he failed to do his job 
wisely. Either way, praying as if everything depended on God is not 
much help. 

What difference would it have made if I had been following 
what I consider a more authentic version of Jesuit spirituality — if, in 
other words, my life had been guided more by the spirituality that is 
expressed in the version of the Ignatian saying that goes, 'Tray as if 
everything depended on you, work as if everything depended on 
God?" In the first place, I would have had a different view of God's 
relation of our activity. Second, I would have acted with a greater 
sense of indifference and freedom in accepting the decisions of 
superiors and the consequences of living in a complex world where 
God is actively at work. We turn now to some of the effects of living 
that more authentic Jesuit spirituality. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life -Q- 17 

A Hypothetical Example of Discernment 
in the Jesuit Manner 

Can we approach life with the mind-set of Ignatius? I believe 
that we can, and that such an approach will provide the spirituality 
we need to face the challenges of the whole of our lives, including 
the challenges of living longer. Let's try to imagine a young Jesuit 
from a province on the East Coast who has cultivated the mind-set 
of Ignatius and is now approaching his first apostolic assignment as 
a formed Jesuit. 23 Like many of his fellow Jesuits, Joe is multi- 
talented. He has shown in regency that he is a good high-school 
teacher. During theology he has demonstrated aptitude for preach- 
ing, for directing the Exercises, and for mastering theology. With 
Joe's full concurrence, his provincial assigned him to pursue a 
doctorate in education at the University of Missouri after theological 
studies. This program would give him the option of working in the 
apostolates of secondary or higher education. During his studies he 
concentrated on curriculum development and teaching methodol- 
ogy, and did his dissertation on the curriculum suited to disadvan- 
taged inner-city high-school boys and girls. 

As his thesis progressed, he became excited by the possibility 
of working as a teacher or an administrator in an inner-city high 
school, and he had been approached about working with a group of 
sisters who planned to open a Cristo Rey-type of school in St. Louis 
in cooperation with the Missouri Jesuits. His provincial had sent 
Joe's resume to all the high schools and universities of his own 
province, and Joe had been offered challenging positions in the 
province at a university (in the School of Education, which had a 
history of training dedicated teachers who commit themselves to 
teach in the cities) and at a prep school (as vice-principal in charge 
of revising the curriculum, a mandate of the school's board and of 
the provincial). The provincial had indicated his initial preference for 
the prep school over the university, because of the greater need at 
the moment, but had not closed the door to the possibility of his 
working at the new Cristo Rey-type of high school in St. Louis. He 


The example is an imaginative exercise to illustrate a point. What is said of 
the university and the prep school and of a possible school in St. Louis is part of the 
imaginative exercise and is not based on any real situations. Nor does the exercise 
touch on all the complexities involved in an assignment. 

18 4> William A. Barry, S.J. 

advised Joe to spend some time in prayer and discernment before 
their next talk, after which the provincial would make the decision. 

Joe wants to make an impact on the world because he is 
haunted by the words of Jesus, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the 
laborers are few/ 7 and by Jesus' own love for suffering people. He 
feels impelled by the spirit of the decrees of General Congregation 
34, especially "Our Mission and Justice, ,, "Cooperation with the Laity 
in Mission/ 7 and "Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church and 
Civil Society." As he presents his choices to God in prayer, he feels 
strongly that the decision before him and the provincial is crucial, 
not just for himself but for others. No matter what assignment he 
receives, some people will be disappointed and deprived of his not 
inconsiderable God-given talents. Moreover, he would probably 
exert a significant influence upon the institution to which he is 
assigned, and he would be affected by interactions with these partic- 
ular colleagues and students. He prays for guidance because, he 
feels, what he does is important to God's dream for a part of the 
world. In other words, he prays as though God's dream depends 
on him. 

After a few days he realizes that he is most exhilarated and 
excited by the thought of working in St. Louis with the sisters; his 
mind brims with plans and dreams for this enterprise. When he 
envisions himself at the university in his home province, he feels 
some excitement and hope and finds himself working on some 
interesting ideas to test out with the teachers in training; but the 
excitement is notably more muted whenever he contemplates work- 
ing in St. Louis. He finds it hard to imagine himself working at the 
prep school; he would enjoy teaching the students, but the thought 
of trying to convince the faculty of the need for curriculum change 
daunts him. After a few days he comes to the conclusion that God 
wants him to go St. Louis. In the spirit of St. Ignatius, Joe asks God 
for confirmation of this decision in the course of the next five days 
before he is scheduled to see the provincial. He remains convinced 
that his discernment is the correct one. 

Joe sees the provincial, who asks him to talk about his reac- 
tions to the three possible assignments and about his experiences in 
prayer. Joe recounts the process he undertook and his conclusion. 
The provincial seems clearly disappointed, but tells Joe that he will 
take Joe's discernment into account in his own process. He also asks 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <f 19 

Joe how he would react if the decision were to send him to the prep 
school or to the university. Joe replies that he would be disap- 
pointed, but would do what the provincial asks with as much 
openness and trust as he can muster. The provincial says that he 
needs to talk over the assignment with his staff and consultors. A 
week later the provincial calls to tell Joe that he is assigning him to 
the prep school because of the great need there and because of the 
prominent role this school plays in the province's future planning. 
During this conversation the provincial explains some of his own 
process that led to the decision and assures Joe that he took the 
latter's own account of conscience very seriously. 

Joe is shocked and angry after the call and wonders whether 
the decision had already been made before he even talked with the 
provincial. He decides that he needs some time to let things cool 
down, to pray, and to discuss matters with his spiritual director. 
Over the next few days, he tells Jesus how he feels. He vents his 
anger, his suspicions, and also his confusion, because he had be- 
lieved that God wanted him in St. Louis. In these conversations he 
feels that Jesus has heard him and senses that the Lord will be with 
him in his new assignment. As a result of these prayer sessions and 
his conversation with his 

spiritual director, he comes "^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^~ 

to some sense of peace Most of us do not change spots 

about the assignment and wnen we grow /^ # We move 

decides not to make repre- {nto Qm Mer $ w{th the same 

sentation to the provincial. T ... j , r f . , 

r personalities and the same lived 

He goes to the prep school . .. T . A AT , , , 

j .° , j u- u spirituality that we developed 

determined to do his best r u . r 

to fulfill the mission as- °» our actwe V ears - 

signed by his provincial; in ^ __^^^___ _^^_ 
fact, he finds some conso- 
lation not only in the act of obedience but also in the work itself. 
Occasionally, especially when things get difficult, anger flares up, but 
he is able to speak openly with Jesus, his director, his friends, and 
his superior; and generally he regains inner peace. Thus, Joe shows 
that his identity is not tied up in the work he chooses, but rather in 
being a Jesuit. He can carry out his assignment as though the whole 
success of the enterprise depended on God, not on himself. 

20 ^ William A. Barry, S.J. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life 

VV hat do these stories have to do with the new reality of longev- 
ity? A great deal, I believe. As the twig is bent, so it grows. Most of 
us do not change spots when we grow old. We move into our elder 
years with the same personalities and the same lived spirituality that 
we developed in our active years. Thus, if Joe can deal creatively 
and honestly with the disappointment of being assigned to the prep 
school when he had hoped to work in a new Cristo Rey type of 
school in St. Louis, and if the spirituality that supported that re- 
sponse continues to unfold in his subsequent life, then he will be 
able to face the later diminutions that life brings with the same grace 
with which he faced this earlier disappointment. 

The Purpose of the Spiritual Exercises 

How does one come to such a spirituality or worldview? I 
believe that we attain it by making the Spiritual Exercises and living 

out that experience. Ignatius states the 

purpose: "to overcome oneself and to 

I atn "indifferent," order one's life, without reaching a 

not in the sense of not decision through some disordered 

caring for created things, affection" (SpEx 21). As is well known, 

but in the sense that there have been two divergent inter- 

they are only relatively Potations of this purpose, the "elec- 

desirable in comparison ti ° ni f * n <? * e "perfectionist." Those 

•at j.1 r> j who hold the first interpretation main- 

with the God . ., . ., „ r . 

, . „ tain that the Exercises aim to prepare 

who is my All. . , * J c 

v a person to make a wise election or a 

_^_^_^_____ state of life in which to serve God 

best. Those who hold the second be- 
lieve that the Exercises aim to help a person to union with God. One 
can, however, follow de Guibert's synthetic interpretation that sees 
these ends as complementary rather than contradictory. 24 For Igna- 
tius, union with God is achieved by uniting one's own actions with 
God's action in the world. Thus, election means allowing God to 
place me where God wants me in the one action that is the world, 

See SpEx, endnote 14 (p. 146 f .). 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <& 21 

to use the language of John Macmurray. 25 In this way, I am united 
with God. One can only be free enough to give oneself in this way 
to God if one has been freed of inordinate attachments, attachments 
that hinder a person from letting God come close and from letting 
God choose one's way of life. 

The Principle and Foundation expresses this radical freedom. 
Though written in somewhat dry and theoretical language, it is 
based on the experience of God as the absolute ground of our being, 
who creates us to be one with him in time and in eternity. God 
desires us into being as collaborators in the one action, which is the 
universe. This creative desire of God forms in the deepest recesses of 
our hearts a correlative desire for what God wants. At times we 
experience the welling up of this desire as a desire for "we know not 
what/ as the "joy" which C. S. Lewis called the desire for God. 26 
Ignatius distilled the inner meaning of that experience in the Princi- 
ple and Foundation. Caught up in the experience of God's desire for 
me and my desire for God, I find everything else to be relative in 
comparison. Hence, I am "indifferent/' not in the sense of not caring 
for created things, but in the sense that they are only relatively 
desirable in comparison with the God who is my All. In his letter to 
the Philippians, Paul makes a similar point. "Yet whatever gains I 
had [that is, as a Jew and a Pharisee] I have come to regard as loss 
because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss be- 
cause of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" 
(Phil. 3:7f.). 

While I am caught in this experience, I do not worry about my 
past failures and sins or about what the future might hold. I feel at 
one with the universe and as whole as I could possibly be. More- 
over, the desire I experience is the deepest desire within me. That 
desire is in tune with God's desire in creating the universe and can 
become the ruling passion of my life if I let it. When I experience 
this desire, I am experiencing God's Holy Spirit drawing me into the 


John Macmurray, The Self as Agent; Persons in Relation (Highland, N.J.: 
Humanities Press, 1978, 1979). I believe that Macmurray's philosophy of the personal 
fits rather nicely with Ignatian spirituality and have used it for a theological 
consideration of the practice of spiritual direction in my Spiritual Direction and the 
Encounter with God: A Theological Inquiry (New York/Mahwah: Paulist, 1992). 


C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (London: Geoffrey 
Bles, 1955; originally 1939). 

22 ^ William A. Barry, S.J. 

inner life of the Trinity, a life that is actively at work in this world. 
While I am in the power of this desire, everything else becomes 
relative before the absolute Mystery I desire. Moreover, we who 
have imbibed Jesuit spirituality experience, in faith, the Trinity as 
active, as working in this world; and we desire to live out our lives 
in harmony with God's working and to do whatever will more 
readily bring us into line with God's work. We make the full Exer- 
cises in order to let God remove all that hinders us from being in 
tune with his action so that he can shape us and our actions in 
accordance with God's purposes. 


What does Ignatius mean by the indifference he mentions in 
the Principle and Foundation? That it does not matter what I do or 
whether I am healthy or not? Given the service mysticism of Igna- 
tius, these cannot be correct. What I do and whether I am healthy 

enough to do it matter a great deal 
because God is active in this world 

and wants me to be in tune with that 
Ultimately all that action. Hence, I pray as if everything 

really matters is that I depended on me, that is, to know 

am united with him in what God wants me to do. In order to 

everything I do. What I let God shape me for God's work, I 
do is secondary to that need t0 be free of a11 inordinate 

union with him in any attachments, all addictions, all that 

action I undertake. wil1 S et in the wa y of God ' s sha P in 8 

activity. Prior to knowing God's "elec- 

— — — — — — — ^— tion" for me, in other words, I want to 

be ready to embrace whatever God 

wants. In this sense, I want to be "indifferent." I want to give God a 

free hand to use my freedom in line with God's action. (Joe, for 

example, prays that he will be really "indifferent" to any of the 

choices before him, so that God can choose him for the one God 

wants. But that does not mean that it does not matter what he does. 

If that were so, there would be no need to pray for guidance at all; 

he could just leave the whole thing to the provincial or to the flip of 

a coin.) 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <$ 23 

Once I have discerned God's election for me and have ac 

cepted it, I can give myself to that activity generously and with all 

my talent, doing everything to make a success of it. But if God's 

election does not work out as I had hoped, I trust that I will find 

consolation in knowing that I have done all that I could and left the 

rest to God. Included in leaving the rest to God are such things as 

how others will cooperate 

with me in the project, *~"~ ~~ ~" 

and events over which I The only pathway to the 

have no control, such as attainment of Ignatian indifference 

accidents, my health, and ( s a life-long commitment 

its effect on the length of to prayer/ to the relationship 

my active apostolate. Such w m God and tQ the examination 

Ignatian "indifference" is n * „„*.„„.;„«„*.„„„ +l„* „.,v77 

Y . . , of consciousness that will 

the fruit of the experience, , „ , „ 

, . Al _ , L , r u , gradually supplant all our 

in faith, of the absolute d ,. * r ( . ,. 

Mystery whom we call , disordered inclinations 

G oc l with a growing love for God 

above all things. 

Perhaps I can ex- 
press the same thoughts in ^^^^^^^^— ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 
terms of the desire of the 

Second Week of the Exercises. Here I want to know Jesus more 
intimately in order to love him and to follow him more closely. In 
other words, I want to be united with Jesus in his mission, to con- 
tinue his mission, to live my life in total trust of the Father as he did. 
Ultimately all that really matters is that I am united with him in 
everything I do. What I do is secondary to that union with him in 
any action I undertake. 

A Life-long Process 

But only a bit of self-knowledge reveals to each of us how far 
from this ideal we are. The mere repetition of the words of the 
Principle and Foundation will not make us indifferent, will not make 
us willing to accept our lot in life when an unwanted assignment, 
failure to achieve our dreams, sickness, old age, and dying stare us 
in the face. The attainment of the ideal of Ignatian indifference is a 
life-long process. Moreover, willpower alone will not attain it; in fact, 
unaided attempts to attain indifference by willpower alone will only 

24 <0> William A. Barry, SJ. 

bring us to despair or to a joylessness that is totally foreign to 
Ignatian spirituality. 

Another Example from Ignatius's Life 

Ignatius himself grew into his mature spiritual self, as the 
following stories show. In his autobiography Ignatius describes three 
instances when he was threatened with death. The first occurred at 
Manresa when a fever brought him to death's door. He was con- 
vinced that he was about to die. He became terrified because, it 
seems, he had the thought that all was right between him and God. 
In anguish he tried, unsuccessfully, to get rid of the thought. When 
the danger of death passed, he began shouting to some women who 
visited him that "for the love of God, when they next saw him at the 
point of death, they should shout at him with loud voices, address- 
ing him as a sinner/ 727 

Contrast this experience, where Ignatius was still caught up in 
terror of God's judgment and fears of his own pride, with the next 
one he describes. He was on a ship from Spain to Italy on his way to 
the Holy Land. In a storm everyone on board was convinced that 
death was inevitable. "At this time, examining himself carefully and 
preparing to die, he could not feel afraid for his sins or of being 
condemned, but he did feel embarrassment and sorrow, as he 
believed he had not used well the gifts and graces which God our 
Lord had granted him." 28 Observe that Ignatius knows that he is a 
sinner and that this knowledge saddens him. But it does not fright- 
en him as it did before. Because of his further experiences of God, 
he now trusts in the mercy of God. He seems now to believe that he 
is a sinner loved and forgiven by an all-merciful God. This experi- 
ence reminds us of the description of the Jesuit from GC 32: "What 
is it to be Jesuit? It is to know that one is a sinner, yet called to be a 
companion of Jesus as Ignatius was." 29 

Finally, Ignatius describes a time in the year 1550, just six 
years before his actual death, when he and everyone else were 

27 PilgTest 44, no. 32. 

28 Ibid., 45, no. 33. 


Decree 2, "Jesuits Today," in Documents of the 31st and 32nd General 
Congregations of the Society of Jesus (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1977), 401. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <f 25 

convinced that he was about to die of a fever. "On this occasion, 
thinking about death, he felt such joy and such spiritual consolation 
at having to die that he dissolved entirely into tears. This became so 
habitual that he often stopped thinking about death so as not to feel 
so much of that consolation/ 730 Now Ignatius seems to be so in love 
with God that the thought of death and complete union with God 
overjoyed him. In fact, one gets a hint in this narrative that Ignatius 
now viewed his desire for death as a possible inordinate attachment 
that might hinder him from being wholly open to God's will. He 
says that he stopped thinking of death so as not to feel so much 
consolation. He still had work to do as the general superior of the 
Society of Jesus, and thus, one can surmise, he needed to be "in- 
different" even to his much desired death. This desire, too, might 
hinder him from being prompt and ready to do God's will. 31 

Jesuit Spirituality: A Summary 

Ignatius came to believe that God is active in this world 
carrying out God's purpose in creation. In the Contemplation to 

Obtain Love, we ask to experience this 
activity of God, sustaining, guiding, 
God wants all of us informing all things. God wants all of 

to be in tune with the us to be in tune with the intention 

intention God has God has in creation, to be one with 

in creation, to be one God in our own actions. In order to 

with God in our be one with God ' we must allow God 

own actions. t0 P rune awa Y tnose inordinate de- 

sires and attachments that keep us 
— ^— — -^— ^ — ^— from being one with God in our ac- 
tions. Such pruning will leave us 
"indifferent," or, as Tetlow puts it, "at a balance," with regard to all 
that is not God. 32 In the process of being pruned, we also fall pro- 

30 PilgTest 45, no. 33. 


It could also be that Ignatius stopped thinking of death in order to slow the 
flow of tears of consolation that, according to his doctors, might ruin his eyesight. 
But again the argument returns. Ignatius gives up this consolation for the sake of 
something greater, namely, what he believed to be God's will. 


Joseph Tetlow, Choosing Christ in the World: Directing the Spiritual Exercises of 
St. Ignatius Loyola according to Annotations Eighteen and Nineteen: A Handbook (Saint 
Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1989), 128. 

26 <0> William A. Barry, S.J. 

gressively more in love with God and with God's Son, Jesus of 
Nazareth, and want to give ourselves totally to God's project and to 
our part in this project. 

The "election" of the Exercises is really about letting God 
choose me for whatever God's wants and about my accepting that 
choice. In Ignatian spirituality falling in love with God means falling 
in love with a God who is active in this world and wants collabora- 
tors in that project. Once I have dis- 
__ m ^ mmmmma ^ mmmm ^^^ mm ^^^^ cerned God's choice, I then try to fol- 
low it out to the best of my ability, 
This spirituality can leaving the success of the enterprise to 

provide continuity God. 'Tray as if everything depends 

throughout one's life. on you; work as if everything de- 

With aging and ill pends on God." With this 

health the same fundamental attitude I give myself 

principles apply. Even as wholeheartedly to whatever enterprise 
we age and grow l am assi g ned and do everything I can 

progressively weaker, we *° make a suc \ cess of ^ w ° rk " But 1 

J.-H Z. //i ii do not so wed myself to that enter- 
are still part of Gods .- . , . J n . . L .~ , u 

. r w.i. prise that I am totally identified by my 

one action, which is \ * ^ ./ .* % 

, j work or my place there or the people 

the world. \N\\h whom I work. My identity comes 

,^^^^^^^_^^^^^^^_ primarily from my relationship with 

God acting with purpose in and 
through me. Thus, if the enterprise fails, or if I am assigned to 
another work, or if I am no longer capable of carrying on the enter- 
prise because of failing health, I am not destroyed and can, like 
Ignatius, but perhaps not so easily, recover my equilibrium through 

The point is that this spirituality can provide continuity 
throughout one's life. With aging and ill health the same principles 
apply. This spirituality allows us to deal with the inevitable, some- 
times very difficult frustrations of sickness and aging in the same 
way that we have dealt with other frustrations throughout life. Even 
as we age and grow progressively weaker, we are still part of God's 
one action, which is the world. This one action includes all the 
actions of humans in the history of the world and all events, that is, 
things that just happen apart from human agency. All these actions 
and events constitute the one action that is our world and are 
subsumed under God's intention in creating this world. Accidents 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life 0- 27 

and natural catastrophes are part of this one action of God and are 
somehow subsumed into God's intention. "We know that all things 
work together for good for those who love, who are called according 
to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). Included in these actions and events are 
our own aging bodies, our growing debilities, and, God help us, 
even our senility, if that is our lot; included too is how we live with 
them. God is always active in our world, bringing about what he 
intends. Jesuit spirituality aims to help us to union with God's 
activity. Even though all human creations and actions are flawed, 
often corrupted by sinful intentions, and finite, still they can be more 
or less in tune with what God intends. Hence, how we act and what 
we create are terribly important; so we pray as if everything de- 
pended on us and how we act. At the same time they are finite and 
contingent; so we can work as if everything depended on God, as 
indeed it does. 33 

Does It Work? 

1 he proof of the pudding is in the eating/ 7 Whether this spiritual- 
ity works not only for the active time of our lives but also for our 
senior years can only be proved in the "eating/' as it were. As each 
one of us tries to live it, we "prove" its efficacy as "a way to God," as 
"our way of proceeding." I want to end this essay with some exam- 
ples of how this spirituality has worked and some questions. The 
examples spring from my own life as I faced a possibly debilitating 
illness and a life-threatening one; the questions arise from my own 
experience and from that of others as well. I hope that they will put 
flesh on the bare bones of the theory of the spirituality. 

Two Personal Examples 

On July 31, 1985, I began a stint as assistant novice director 
after having spent the previous month in Brazil leading a workshop 
on spiritual direction and giving a directed retreat. I had been asked 
to return to Brazil from the middle of February to the end of May of 
the following year to conduct workshops on spiritual direction in ten 
different cities, a task I eagerly anticipated. In October I experienced 


I have developed these ideas of the one action of God in Spiritual Direction. 

28 0* William A. Barry, S.J. 

frightful shooting pains down my left leg, the prelude to a period of 
about nine months when I was pretty much laid up with a bad back. 
Most of every day I lay flat on my back on my bed. I was not able to 
travel to Brazil to do the workshops. I finally underwent an opera- 
tion to remove the disk that was causing the pain; but the agony 
persisted and I had to have some neurological tests. After those tests 
the neurologist told me that there was nothing doctors could do for 
the pain but prescribe pain medication such as Tylenol with codeine. 
His tone and diagnosis seemed something like a death sentence: I 
envisioned that for the rest of my life I would be as incapacitated as 
I had been for the past nine months. 

It was not a good year from many points of view, and yet I 
found many consolations. Life in the novitiate went on, and I was 
able to do my share. I learned that I could still be effective as a 
spiritual director even though I was laid up. I wrote a little book on 
prayer, Seek My Face, and thereby discovered that I could still write 
even while confined to bed. In Brazil, Philomena Sheerin, MMM, a 
graduate of the Center for Religious Development in Cambridge, 
Mass., was asked to take over the series of workshops that I had 
originally planned to direct, and eight of the ten venues accepted 
her services. It was the first time that the Conference of Religious of 
Brazil had asked a woman to lead such workshops. She was very 
successful. God wrote straight with the crooked lines of my illness, 
and it was salutary for me to find that I was not necessary for the 
project. I became a little more "indifferent" with regard to my health 
and vitality. 34 

The second serious illness occurred when I was provincial, 
preparing to go to GC 34. A week before the congregation was to 
begin, I had a biopsy on my vocal cord that revealed a malignancy 
requiring six weeks of radiation treatment, five days a week. I wrote 
a letter to the members of the province that began with the lines of 
Robert Burns: "The best-laid schemes o' mice and men / Gang aft a- 
gley." Certainly my "schemes" had gone a-gley. I told them about 
the cancer and the treatment and then went on to write: 

The neurologist's prediction that I would have to live with the pains in my 
back and leg and use painkillers regularly turned out to be inaccurate, thank God. 
Back problems have been only a sporadic problem since. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <0> 29 

Needless to say, I am disappointed at not being able to attend the 
General Congregation, an opportunity that has come along for a 
Jesuit only 34 times in the more than 450 years of our existence. I am 
also anxious about this treatment. However, it is a chance for me to 
test my "alleged trust in God," as C. G. Jung once put it. 

My sense of disappointment at not going to the congregation was 
understated in the memorandum, as I discovered by my reactions 
during it and afterwards. On more than one occasion tears came to 
my eyes when it dawned 
on me what was happen- ^— — ^^^^^— ^^^^^^^^^— 

ing in Rome and later /f stmck m£ , .„ ^ 

when I heard about the . ., ., , > . r ., 

{ . , , in the midst of praising the 

final documents. , -, , , . J , ., ., 

servant, God twice makes it quite 
^ As it turned out, the dmr that thefe fe Qnly Qne God/ 

congrega ion i qui e an ^ ^^ ^ servant is not God. 

well without me. Bob Tart, //A/ 

, , , Tow are not necessary, 

my replacement, played a , /' 

■a m.u a but wanted. 

significant part in the de- 

liberations and made a __ ^^^^^^^^_^^^^^^^^^^^_ 
very moving presentation 

to the province assembly afterwards. His theological scholarship and 
long experience of relating to and working with Eastern Rite Catho- 
lics and with Orthodox Christians brought a unique perspective both 
to the congregation and to his presentation before the assembly. 
God wrote straight with this crooked line just as he wrote straight 
when I could not go to Brazil. I learned at a deeper level than ever 
before that I am not indispensable, a very salutary experience. 

Another experience, connected with my bout with cancer, 
brought this insight home to me in a powerful way. About a year 
and a half after the cancer treatments ended, I made my annual 
retreat. I spent most of the retreat contemplating the words of the 
first Servant Song of Isaiah (42:1-9), hearing God tell me that I was a 
beloved servant. It struck me forcibly that, in the midst of praising 
the servant, God twice makes it quite clear that there is only one 
God, and that the servant is not God. "You are not necessary, but 
wanted," is what I heard God saying to me. One evening after 
supper I was walking outside. The thought flashed through my 
mind, "You could be dead now." I broke out in a smile, probably 
because of the mood of the retreat. It was true. I could have been 
dead, and someone else would be provincial; the province would go 

30 ♦ William A. Barry, S.J. 

on without my so-called leadership. I am not necessary, but, for 
God's own reasons, I was wanted at that time not only in this 
position but in this world. I have never had such a clear experience 
of living on borrowed time, of living by sheer grace, and wish that I 
could keep it before my eyes always. 

My usual routines, however, drive the experience from my 
awareness, and then I act as though I am alive out of necessity and 
am in control of my life and all its circumstances. When I am in this 
mode, I tend to worry about details over which I have no control, a 
way of "playing God," of thinking myself indispensable. In life we 
all have to make decisions whose success we cannot guarantee, for 
so much depends on other people and how they will act and react. 
When my "alleged trust in God" is at a low ebb, I can have sleepless 
nights going over and over the various possibilities of how matters 
will turn out, of how I might manage things better to ensure "suc- 
cess," or of how I might manage things better in the event that they 
did not turn out as I hoped. When I am in this mode, in other 
words, I act as though everything depended on me, not on God, 
and I am anxious and less hopeful. 

Very early in my radiation treatment I found myself dealing 
with feelings of guilt. When the cancerous growth was discovered, 
the doctors routinely asked whether I was a smoker. I had been. To 
underline the fact that this particular cancer might be considered a 
"sin tax," my radiologist, on the first day I met him, rather cheerfully 
commented that people who never smoked and who drank whiskey 
abstemiously never got this type of cancer. "Guilty on both counts," 
was my response. I did not think that I felt a great deal of guilt, but 
an experience a few days later revealed a deeper reality. On the first 
Friday of January, at our weekly community liturgy, my community 
prayed over me and the superior administered the sacrament of the 
sick. After Communion, and out of the blue, an image of my de- 
ceased mother came to mind. I had the realization that God and my 
mother were looking on me with love, with not even a hint of an I- 
told-you-so attitude. I wept with gratitude and relief. Apparently 
guilt feelings and even a sense that I was being punished for my 
"sins" had some hold on my psyche. No doubt my behavior had 
brought on the cancer, and I regretted (and still regret) that fact and 
its cost, but I no longer felt or feel burdened by useless guilt feelings. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life O 31 

Fear was a constant companion. I think that I believed my 
doctor's prognosis that the radiation treatments would take care of 
the cancer. I seemed most afraid of the radiation itself. What was it 
doing to me besides taking care of the cancer? I tried to speak with 
Jesus about my fears and to hand myself over to God no matter 
what might come. For a fairly long period during the treatment, I 
felt distant from Jesus. But I had occasions when I felt not only close 
to him, but also a movement toward surrendering to whatever God 
had in store for me. Sometimes, before the radiation treatments I 
took time to tell Jesus of my fears and to ask for healing and for 
openness to God's will. I also tried to imagine myself being touched 
by Jesus' healing hand during the radiation treatments themselves. 
At these times I felt extraordinarily grateful for simply being alive 
and even peaceful at the possibility that I might not be able to use 
my voice without a machine. 

One very consoling image came while I was contemplating the 

Transfiguration scene. The cloud of God's presence in our world 
always surrounds us. We 

continually walk within ' "~"~ 

that cloud. We cannot I am less afraid of death when I 

know the future, can only can keep the truth in mind 

grope in darkness as we that I am not needed, 

move through life, but wanted by God. Too easily 

touching those nearest us j sUp back into the imp i icit min ^ 

and being helped along by $et that j am {n contwl and that 

them, but the darkness of ., . ■, i 

.. ' , . . r • i . everything depends on me. 

the cloud is not frighten- J or 

ing. I felt the presence as -^ — - — — — 

kind and caring. I could 

well understand Julian of Norwich's "And all shall be well, and all 

manner of thing shall be well/' At moments like these my fears 

vanished, and because of such moments the fears did not really 

overwhelm me. 

Rather amazingly, throughout this period my spirits remained 
relatively high. My sense of humor never deserted me, and the 
humor and care of my community helped. In addition, I carried on 
the ordinary business of being provincial. But since I had cleared the 
calendar for the three months of the congregation, the ordinary 
business did not take up all of my time. What to do with all the time 
on my hands? I had read the first volume of John Meier's A Marginal 

32 <> William A. Barry, S.J. 

Jew when it came out and had purchased the second volume to take 
with me to Rome. I read that volume during the first couple of 
weeks of radiation and got the idea of writing a book on relating to 
the historical Jesus. It came to me that I could use the desire of St. 
Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises, that I may have "an interior knowledge 
of Our Lord, that I may love him more intensely and follow him 
more closely" to begin each chapter and then provide the reader 
with material from Meier's study of the historical Jesus for contem- 
plation. In the course of writing this book (Who Do You Say I Am?), I 
got to know Jesus more intimately myself. I came, for example, to 
appreciate much more profoundly that Jesus is like us in all things 
except sin, that he, too, had to live by faith, had to do the best he 
could to discern God's will and then leave the rest to the Father. In 
addition, focusing on Jesus and on writing about him kept me from 
being too focused on myself. 

In many ways my "alleged trust in God" was tested and found 
wanting during this time. But in the process I was given a greater 
trust in God. "God writes straight with crooked lines." My life is a 
crooked line, my misuse of cigarettes and whiskey another, the 
cancer another. I do not believe that the cancer was punishment. But 
I do believe that God has written straight with these crooked lines. I 
am not only grateful that the cancer is gone but, strange as it may 
seem, grateful that I had it — because of the way God wrote straight 
with it and me. Amazing grace! 

The Fruits of These Experiences 

Seamus Heaney writes something about hope that fits the 
spirituality I have been describing in this article. 

Hope, according to [Vaclav] Havel, is different from optimism. It is a 
state of the soul rather than a response to the evidence. It is not the 
expectation that things will turn out successfully but the conviction 
that something is worth working for, however it turns out. Its deep- 
est roots are in the transcendental, beyond the horizon. 35 

I grew in hope through these illnesses, but it had been incubating in 
me ever since I began to live out the tension of Ignatian spirituality, 

5 Seamus Heaney, Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971-2001 (New York: Farrar 
Straus Giroux, 2002), 50. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <► 33 

by praying as if everything depended on me and working as if 
everything depended on God. 

What have I learned from these graced experiences? For one 
thing, I am more open to looking at the issues involved with aging. I 
know that I can find God and live with some lightness of spirit even 
when incapacitated. I am less afraid of death when I can keep the 
truth in mind that I am not needed, but wanted by God. Too easily I 
slip back into the implicit mind-set that I am in control and that 
everything depends on me. But because of these experiences and my 
reflection on their meaning for Jesuit spirituality, I can find my way 
back from the illusion of control. 36 

Another fruit has been the realization that I have resources to 
fall back on when I am no longer able to be so active in the aposto- 
late. As long as my mind is 
clear, I can, for example, 

give directed retreats and God gives us our apostolic desires 

spiritual direction. I discov- and talents and asks us 

ered that I could still read to collaborate in the great work 

and even write while con- f tne Kingdom. We do not flee 

fined to bed. I learned activity in this world in order to 

something about passivity find Qod m find God 

through the illnesses, that . * u 

& . , , . in our labor. 

long periods of time alone 

in bed need not become — — ^ — — ^— — ^^— 
daunting. I enjoyed pray- 
ing and listening to music. 

In 1961 America published an article by John LaFarge in which 
he opined that old age is a time for prayer, for charity, and for 
courage. What he wrote about prayer is relevant here. 

The latter years are a time when we simply allow ourselves to 
become more familiar with God and with His saints in heaven. We 
should let ourselves grow closer to that source of life, that ocean of 
love, toward which we are inexorably moving, just as the water- 
borne traveler on a great river begins to scent the first tang of the 
mighty sea to which the current is noiselessly carrying him. It means 


P. D. James, the detective novelist, has one of her characters ruminate, "We 
need, all of us, to be in control of our lives, and so we shrink them until they're small 
and mean enough so that we can feel in control" (Devices and Desires [New York: 
Knopf, 1990], 248). 

34 <C> William A. Barry, S.J. 

talking much to God . . . [and] listening for that Voice which could 
not make itself heard so well in the clamor of busier years. 37 

Some Questions for This Spirituality 

What Does This Spirituality Suggest for Active Jesuits? 

What we do apostolically is important because we want to be 
united with the Trinity at work in this world. It would be a perver- 
sion of our spirituality to downplay the importance of our apostolic 
work on the grounds that anything we do counts as nothing in 
comparison with the immensity of God. God gives us our apostolic 
desires and talents and asks us to collaborate in the great work of 
the Kingdom. We do not flee activity in this world in order to find 
God. We find God in our labor. Nor do we consider our apostolic 
desires hindrances to union with God, as some conceptions of a 
more apophatic spirituality would have it. In addition, if we work as 
part of an institutional apostolate, we do everything we can to make 
the institution work and to ensure its health and continuation as a 
work of God. 

At the same time we do not totally identify ourselves with our 
work or our institutions. We find our identity anchored more in our 
relationship with Jesus in companionship with others than in any 
work we do. Moreover, in order to ensure that the work we are 
engaged in continues, if it is God's will that it should do so, we do 
everything to make sure that the institution, or our part of its opera- 
tion, has the resources to continue after we are gone. So we do 
everything we can to prepare for our replacement, and we will ask 
God in prayer to help us to know when our presence is no longer a 
help to the enterprise. Indeed, we might make it a feature of the 
yearly account of conscience with the local superior and the provin- 
cial to ask whether we should move on for the good of the aposto- 
late or for the good of other apostolic works. I heard of one institu- 
tional president who each year asked the provincial whether the 
latter wanted him to remain in his position. We are not necessary, 
but wanted by God for a certain work; but there can come a time 
when we are no longer wanted, because new ideas are needed or 


Reprinted in John LaFarge, "On Turning Seventy," Catholic Mind 78, no. 

1342 (April 1980): 15. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life <& 35 

because our powers are no longer up to the challenge. The success 
and continued existence of our apostolic works we must leave to 
God and to those who follow us. 

Jesuits need to take reasonable care of their physical, psychic, 
and spiritual health precisely because God wants them to be co- 
laborers in the Kingdom. Part X of the Constitutions begins with 
these words: 'The Society was not instituted by human means; and 
it is not through them that it can be preserved and increased, but 
through the grace of the omnipotent hand of Christ our God and 
Lord" (no. 812). Soon thereafter, however, we read: "When based 
upon this foundation, the natural means which equip the human 
instrument of God our Lord to deal with his fellow human beings 
will all help toward the preservation and growth of this whole body, 
provided they are acquired 

and exercised for the di- ^ ___ _ _ 
vine service alone" (814) 

Jesuit spirituality lives with We are to be distinguished 

the tension of complete h V obedience to superiors, 

trust in God and trust in yet creative, inventive, and 

oneself as an instrument of discerning in matters concerning 

God. One of the natural ourselves; we are to be 

means recommended by men of prayer, yet actively 

the Constitutions is care for engaged in the world. 

one's health: "moderation 
in spiritual and bodily la- 
bors" (822) and "attention 

... to the preservation of the health of the individual members" 
(826). Jesuit spirituality does not scorn bodily concerns. Ignatius 
learned at Manresa that excessive ascetical practices could seriously 
impair his health and thus hinder his effectiveness as an apostle. 
Indeed, he learned that a moderate care of his appearance made him 
more apostolically effective. But moderation is the key word. Trust in 
God and the need to care for one's health must exist in tension in 
any Jesuit's life. Moreover, Jesuits imbued with Ignatian spirituality 
recognize that growing old and experiencing growing debilitation 
are part of God's providence with which they have to reckon. We 
cannot stave off the steady journey that leads to the grave. 

Our spirituality should help us to look reality squarely in the 
eye. We need to prepare for the time of diminished ability. We can 
do this by developing ministerial talents that can be used later in 

36 <$> William A. Barry, S.J. 

life, by cultivating a love of some solitude and of prayer, and by 
cultivating friendships. Our spirituality, to be vital, requires that we 
hold two elements in tension: on one side, a wholehearted commit- 
ment to what we are doing in ministry with a reliance on God in 
prayer, a real friendship with the Lord in prayer; and, on the other 
side, a readiness to move to different ministries when the need 
arises — and, we might add in our era, when aging has diminished 
some of our powers. 

What Does It Suggest about Growing Old and Facing Debilitating 

Jesuit spirituality is tensile; that is, at their best Jesuits are 
expected to live comfortably with a number of tensions. 38 For exam- 
ple, we are to be distinguished by obedience to superiors, yet cre- 
ative, inventive, and discerning; we are to be men of prayer, yet 

actively engaged in the world. One of 
these tensions has relevance for our 
With Jesus' help I can, topic. We are to be zealously and 

perhaps, come to the wholeheartedly committed to our 

conviction that my present apostolate, yet ready to leave 

primary identity is not it at a moment's notice for a greater 

rooted in my work, but good or if ordered by our superiors or 

in union with God the P°P e - The onset of some of the 

always active debilities of the aging process can be 

in the world. likened to an order from a superior 

sending us to another apostolate. In 
fact, often enough it is a superior who 
brings to a Jesuit's attention that his 
physical capacities now suggest that he retire from his present 
apostolate. It may take him some time to come to terms with the 
disappointment and other feelings that follow upon the realization 
that the time for retirement from active ministry has come, but the 
spiritual principles remain the same as they were in our active lives. 


See William A. Barry and Robert G. Doherty, Contemplatives in Action: The 
Jesuit Way (New York/Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2002), for a description of a number of 
these tensions. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life «0- 37 

Let's return to the spirituality of ''election' 7 in the Spiritual 
Exercises. As noted earlier, this "election" has to do with letting God 
elect me, letting God shape my freedom and my life. Indeed, the 
exercitant, in the Third Week, seeks God's confirmation of this 
"election," made in the Second Week. Michael Buckley writes: 

The completion of freedom is the election of [God's] will in prayer 
and the living with it in life. For union with God was a union with a 
God who was not simply the source of all things, nor present in all 
things, but who . . . labors in all things, struggles in all things, 
drawing them to himself [SpEx 236]. It was the presence of this 
struggling God, one who immanently works out the salvation of all 
human beings and whose highest instantiation was the passion, 
death, and resurrection of Christ, who calls out to Ignatius — God 
drawing him into the formulation of his providence. The finding of 
the divine will was by a process of election in which the providence 
of God and choice of the person became one. The election was the 
total disposition of oneself. 39 

The final test of such total disposition of oneself comes with the 
onset of debilitating illness or, what may be even more difficult, the 
need to retire from active ministry because of age. 

Such disposition of oneself includes also the possibility of such 
feared illnesses as dementia, Alzheimer's, macular degeneration, 
muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, strokes, and the like. Proxim- 
ity to men with such illnesses at a health center brings home the full 
meaning of the prayer Ignatius asks exercitants to say after the first 
point of the Contemplation to Obtain Love. In that prayer we try to 
say and mean: 

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understand- 
ing, and all my will — all that I have and possess. You, Lord, have 
given all that to me. I now give it back to you, O Lord. All of it is 
yours. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me love of yourself 
along with your grace, for that is enough for me. (234) 

When one visits friends with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, the 
stunning impact of this prayer hits home: "All my memory. . . ." 

When confronted with retirement from active ministry, many 
a Jesuit wonders about his usefulness. "If I am not teaching, who am 
I?" is the kind of plaintive feeling that can hang like a pall over a 


Buckley, "Freedom, Election," 74. 

38 <0 William A. Barry, S.J. 

man's spirit. The spirituality I have been outlining can, I believe, 
help us to move beyond this feeling. First of all, I can tell Jesus how 
I feel. I can tell him I feel useless. I can rail at him in anger at this 
turn life has taken. 40 Through such prayer I can find comfort in 
Jesus' understanding and continued presence. With his help I can, 
perhaps, come to the conviction that my primary identity is not 
rooted in my work, but in union with God always active in the 
world. Even after retirement from active ministry, we are still want- 
ed by God, still united with God's activity in this world, but now 
with God's participation in our diminishment. 

One Jesuit told me of a moving conversation he had with his 
provincial. A few months before this conversation, this man, in his 

sixties, had had a very serious opera- 
tion for cancer. The postoperative 
With God's help I can, treatment included experimental che- 

perhaps, come to the motherapy with debilitating side 

conviction that my effects; the prognosis of a cure was 

primary identity is not not g° od - He mentioned to the pro- 

rooted in my work, but vincial that he felt OK ' but that he 

in union with God had no ener ^ after 11:0 ° AM ' and 

always active wondered whether he could do any- 

' +h /// thing useful. The provincial thought 

for a moment and then said: "I want 
__mm^_^^_^__ you to live; and as long as you live, 

men in the province will say, 'Isn't 

God good to give us for one more day!'" That provincial was 

telling this man that he had value far beyond his work. 

In most provinces nowadays the movement to a health center 
comes with a letter from the provincial giving the mission to pray 
for the Church and the Society. Ideally such a letter comes after an 
account of conscience in which this change in status is discussed. 


The writer Andre Dubus, after losing a leg in an accident, now faced the 
loss of his two young daughters when his wife left him and obtained custody of the 
children. He utters this great prayer: "On the twenty-third of June, I lay on my bed 
and looked out the sliding glass doors at blue sky and green poplars and I wanted to 
die. I wanted to see You and cry out to You: So You had three years of public life which 
probably weren't so bad, were probably even good most of the time, and You suffered for three 
days, from Gethsemane to Calvary, but You never had children taken away from You" (Broken 
Vessels: Essays [Boston: Godine, 1991], 161). Later in the essay he indicates that his cri 
du coeur eventually brought him a measure of peace. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life O 39 

The spirituality we have been outlining here makes this mission of a 
piece with all one's other missions from provincials. We believe in a 
Triune God who is always active in our world. With this mission we 
enter into that activity of God in a new but no less real way. 

Earlier I quoted John LaFarge on prayer. He also has some 
wise words of advice on the topic of old age as a time of charity: 

In the latter years you cannot . . . practice anything like what you 
once could in the way of strenuous works for your neighbor. The 
area in which you can operate becomes gradually smaller. Your 
greatest hope is seeing that others carry on your works, perhaps 
much better than you could hope to do. . . . But with all this, the 
latter years offer countless opportunities for charity, many of which 
are appropriate to that very time. . . . Old age is the time for hidden 
charity: the good word spoken here and there, a quiet service per- 
formed, visits to those in suffering, visits to others of the same age 
period whose predicament you can understand. 41 

He goes on to list some of the works of charity that are possible: 
listening to younger people and encouraging them, trying to make 
life more tolerable for others, writing letters, and, of course, praying 
for others, those one knows and everyone else. These are all part of 
the mission to pray for the Church and the Society. 

The "Inverted Pyramid" 

Can this spirituality help us to deal more creatively and 
effectively with the "inverted pyramid" faced by religious congrega- 
tions in the United States? Those of us who are sixty or older can 
recall a time when elderly religious were a distinct minority. The age 
pyramid had a large number of younger religious at the base with 
numbers gradually declining until there were very few in the older 
ranges. The average age of most Jesuit provinces in 1970 was about 
forty-five. Older members of the New England Province, for exam- 
ple, can remember years when there were fifteen and more regents 
at Baghdad College and numbers in the same range in the other 
high schools of the province. This age pyramid has now been re- 
versed. In most of the Jesuit communities and apostolates of the 
United States the elderly predominate. Where there are any regents 
at all, it is unusual to have more than two, and the norm may be 

LaFarge, "Turning Seventy/' 16 f. 

40 <$> William A. Barry, SJ. 

closer to one. Young formed priests and brothers also constitute a 
handful. This fact poses a challenge not only for the young but also 
for the elderly. And one of the challenges is how we care for the 
elderly among us who need more than ordinary physical, emotional, 
and spiritual assistance in daily living. 

When there were very few elderly men in a community, it 
was expected that an elderly man needing some daily assistance 
would be cared for in the community. This was not only the norm 
for religious communities but also for society at large. This model 
exerts an emotional tug on all our hearts. Most of us want to take 
care of our elderly and feel great consolation when we hear stories 
of how the elderly were treated in past times. Can it be done with- 
out detriment to the apos- 
tolic effectiveness of the 

community in the present 

circumstances? I believe How would tne V remain bonded 

that an honest answer has to one another when dispersed on 

to be no. The inverted age mission? They engaged 

pyramid has put us in a in communal discernment, trusting 

new situation. It cannot be that God would reveal to them 

expected that the relatively through their prayer and discussion 

small number of active how to proceed. 

Jesuits will be able to carry 

on their apostolic activity — ™ ^ ~~ ~™—-— 

and still give the kind of 

psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical care that a relatively 

large number of elderly men need. However, I believe that we have 

not as yet been able, as communities, to face this question with the 

resources of our spirituality. We do not yet have the "communities 

of discernment" that our recent congregations and Fr. Kolvenbach 

hoped we would become. Is it possible to move in this direction? 42 

The situation described is a given. It is like an unwanted 
assignment by the provincial or an unexpected and debilitating 
sickness. There is no use in trying to discover who is to blame for it. 
It is, if you will, one of the crooked lines with which God must write 
straight. In this situation how should we act? That is the salient 
question for those of us brought up on Jesuit spirituality. In other 

Here is the one place where I indicate how our spirituality might help us as 

a corporate body. 

Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life -0- 41 

words, each of us needs to pray as though everything depended on 
us. It is important that we discern how to be in tune with God's 
intention in this situation. If all of us were to pray with the desire of 
discerning how to act in these circumstances, we might find a way 
through the darkness seemingly presented by the inverted pyramid. 
This would especially be true if we were then able to communicate 
with one another on our individual discernment and thus pave the 
way to communal discernment. 

The situation, in some ways, has analogies to the one faced by 
Ignatius and his first companions when they found themselves in 
Rome in 1539 about to be dispersed on mission by the pope. How 
would they remain bonded to one another when dispersed on 
mission? They engaged in communal discernment, trusting that God 
would reveal to them through their prayer and discussion how to 
proceed. They were men of different countries and temperaments. 
"Some of us were French, others Spanish, Savoyards, or Portuguese. 
After meeting for many sessions, there was a cleavage of sentiments 
and opinions about our situation." 43 They prayed as if everything 
depended on them and communicated the results of their prayer 
with great candor, openness, and trust to one another over many 
days. They determined that they would follow the majority vote; 
thus, they trusted that God would show them how to proceed even 
if they were still rather divided at the end. After a number of days, 
they came to the unanimous conclusion to ask the pope to let them 
found a new religious order in which they would take a vow to 
obey one of their own. After their decision they acted as if every- 
thing depended on God. 

Our situation, as I have indicated, has analogies to that of the 
founders. We face a situation that begs for discernment. Moreover, 
the issue faces all of us, both older and younger members of the 
Society. How do we continue to help souls in our apostolates, given 
the new situation presented by the inverted pyramid? How should 
we organize our communities, given the demands of the apostolate 
and of the care of the elderly? How should we handle the situation 

Jules J. Toner, "The Deliberation That Started the Jesuits: A Commentario 
on the Deliberatio primorum patrum. Newly Translated with a Historical Introduction," 
Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 6, no. 4 June 1974): 185. 

42 <0> William A. Barry, S.J. 

of a man who obviously needs more care than we can provide in 
this community? These questions cry out for communal discernment. 

I am not naive about our capacity for such communal discern- 
ment. Many of us are not used to talking with others about our 
experiences in prayer. We are more used to arguing for a point than 
to presenting our own opinions as possible hints from God about 
how the group should move. And the issues touch questions that 
make many of us vulnerable and anxious, questions such as "Is it 
time for me to move to assisted living?" "Will this apostolate con- 
tinue as a Jesuit work?" "How can we support ourselves with fewer 
men earning salaries?" Whoever leads the group in communal 
discernment will have to be aware of the anxieties and possible 
pitfalls and be strong in holding the community to the task at hand, 
which is to discern God's will for us in our new situation. 44 

If the magic works, however, something new and exciting can 
take hold of our communities. For one thing, older and younger 
members would be praying and talking together to discern how to 
move forward in the situation presented to us. We would be living 
out the spirituality of Ignatius. We would pray as if everything 
depended on us and on what we do; hence, we will do everything 
to discover God's will for us as individuals and as a community. 
Thus we would demonstrate our real (as opposed to notional) assent 
to the words of the Constitutions that affirm Ignatius's conviction that 
God wants the Society of Jesus to exist even in these changed 
circumstances. 45 We would use all the human means we can muster, 
in the spirit of no. 814 of the same Constitutions, because we are 
convinced of our own call and of our importance at this moment of 
the Society's existence, when its very life and health are at stake. 

Absent such communal discernment, local superiors and 
provincials have had to make decisions about the care of the elderly. 
Clearly, in most provinces the choice has been to develop province 
infirmaries or health centers to which men who need daily assistance 
are assigned. I believe that these decisions have been the right ones 

I have made some suggestions on how to move toward communal 
discernment in "Toward Communal Discernment: Some Practical Suggestions/' in 
Letting God Come Close: An Approach to the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (Chicago: Loyola 
Press, 2001), chap. 12. 

45 ConsCN 812 (p. 400). 

Jesuit Spirituality for the WJwle of Life <0> 43 

not only to care more effectively and well for the elderly but also to 
care for the apostolic communities. Our apostolic communities are 
not equipped to handle the needs created by the advances of mod- 
ern medicine and the fact of the inverted pyramid. Nor should they 
be, in my opinion. These communities exist for the sake of the 
apostolate, not for the sake of the community. It is very painful to 
face the fact that one's time in an apostolic community is coming to 
an end. Superiors are well aware of the pain, and because of it often 
wait too long to raise the issue with elderly men who need regular 
assistance. Such delays are understandable, but not ultimately 
helpful for the man or for the apostolic community. I speak from 
some experience of having delayed dealing forthrightly with men in 
a timely manner. I believe that I shortchanged the men by not 
raising the issue earlier. Not only did they not get the care they 
needed, not only did the apostolic community suffer somewhat, but 
because of my inaction these elderly men were deprived of the 
chance to face the reality and to accept it in faith and trust in God. 46 


1 he poet Fleur Adcock spent a year in the Lake Region of England. 
The year seems to have given her a perspective on the effects of 
aging, as the poem "Weathering" attests. 

Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face 
catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes 
with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well: 
that was a metropolitan vanity, 
wanting to look young for ever, to pass. 

I was never a Pre-Raphaelite beauty, 
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy 

I am reminded of another neuralgic issue for superiors and community 
members, namely, whether to confront the elderly about unhealthy behaviors, for 
example, the abuse of alcohol. I have heard things like this said: "Oh, he's too old 
now to be confronted about things like that." Such thinking, I believe, reflects a 
mind-set that sees the elderly as beyond change and treats them as already at death's 
door. It removes from many elderly the chance for a better lifestyle in the years 
ahead and the opportunity to ask God for help in changing self-destructive and 
addictive behaviors. 

44 <0> William A. Barry, S.J. 

men who need to be seen with passable women. 

But now that I am in love with a place 

which doesn't care how I look, or if I'm happy, 

happy is how I look, and that's all. 

My hair will turn grey in any case, 

my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken, 

and the years work all their usual changes. 

If my face is to be weather-beaten as well 

that's little enough lost, a fair bargain 
for a year among lakes and fells, when simply 
to look out of my window at the high pass 
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what 
my soul may wear over its new complexion. 47 

I would like to believe that years of living in companionship 
with Jesus and with others in the Society of Jesus might give us a 
similar "indifference" to the effects of aging. I have argued in these 
pages that the experience of the Trinity working in this world and 
inviting us to collaboration in this working can give us a spirituality 
capable of accompanying us through all the stages of life. This 
tensile Jesuit spirituality can make us "indifferent to mirrors and to 
what our souls may wear over their new complexion'' as we face the 
inevitable effects of aging on our ability to work apostolically. I hope 
that I have succeeded. 

Fleur Adcock, Poems, 1960-2000 (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 
2000), 124. Used with the gracious permission of Bloodaxe Books. 

Past Issues: Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 

(For prices, see inside back cover.) 

1/1 Sheets, Profile of the Contemporary Jesuit (Sept. 1969) 
1/2 Ganss, Authentic Spiritual Exercises: History and Terminology (Nov. 1969) 
2/1 Burke, Institution and Person (Feb. 1970) 
2/2 Futrell, Ignatian Discernment (Apr. 1970) 

2/3 Lonergan, Response of the Jesuit as Priest and Apostle (Sept. 1970) 
3/1 Wright, Grace of Our Founder and the Grace of Our Vocation (Feb. 1971) 
3/2 O'Flaherty, Some Reflections on Jesuit Commitment (Apr. 1971) 
3/4 Toner, A Method for Communal Discernment of God's Will (Sept. 1971) 
3/5 Sheets, Toward a Theology of the Religious Life (Nov. 1971) 
4/2 Two Discussions: I. Spiritual Direction, II. Leadership and Authority (Mar. 1972) 
4/3 Orsy, Some Questions about the Purpose and Scope of the General Congregation Qune 1972) 
4/4 Ganss, Wright, O'Malley, O'Donovan, Dulles, On Continuity and Change: A Symposium 
(Oct. 1972) 
5/1-2 O'Flaherty, Renewal: Call and Response (Jan. -Mar. 1973) 
5/3 Arrupe, McNaspy, The Place of Art in Jesuit Life (Apr. 1973) 
5/4 Haughey, The Pentecostal Thing and Jesuits (June 1973) 

5/5 Orsy, Toward a Theological Evaluation of Communal Discernment (Oct. 1973) 
6/3 Knight, Joy and Judgment in Religious Obedience (Apr. 1974) 
7/1 Wright, Ganss, Orsy, On Thinking with the Church Today (Jan. 1975) 
7/2 Ganss, Christian Life Communities from the Sodalities (Mar. 1975) 
7/3 Connolly, Contemporary Spiritual Direction: Scope and Principles (June 1975) 
7/5 Buckley, The Confirmation of a Promise; Padberg, Continuity and Change in General 
Congregation XXXII (Nov. 1975) 
O'Neill, Acatamiento: Ignatian Reverence (Jan. 1976) 

De la Costa, Sheridan, and others, On Becoming Poor: A Symposium on Evangelical Poverty 
(Mar.-May 1976) 

Faricy, Jesuit Community: Community of Prayer (Oct. 1976) 

Becker, Changes in U.S. Jesuit Membership, 1958-75; Others, Reactions and Explanations 
(Jan.-Mar. 1977) 
9/4 Connolly, Land, Jesuit Spiritualities and the Struggle for Social Justice (Sept. 1977). 
9/5 Gill, A Jesuit's Account of Conscience (Nov. 1977) 

10/1 Kammer, "Burn-Out"— Dilemma for the Jesuit Social Activist (Jan. 1978) 
10/4 Harvanek, Status of Obedience in the Society of Jesus; Others, Reactions to Connolly-Land 

(Sept. 1978) 
11/1 Clancy, Feeling Bad about Feeling Good (Jan. 1979) 

11/2 Maruca, Our Personal Witness as Power to Evangelize Culture (Mar. 1979) 
11/3 Klein, American Jesuits and the Liturgy (May 1979) 
11/5 Conwell, The Kamikaze Factor: Choosing Jesuit Ministries (Nov. 1979) 
12/2 Henriot, Appleyard, Klein, Living Together in Mission: A Symposium on Small Apostolic 
Communities (Mar. 1980) 

Conwell, Living and Dying in the Society of Jesus (May 1980) 

Schineller, Newer Approaches to Christology and Their Use in the Spiritual Exercises (Sept. -Nov. 
13/1 Peter, Alcoholism in Jesuit Life (Jan. 1981) 

13/3 Ganss, Towards Understanding the Jesuit Brothers' Vocation (May 1981) 
13/4 Reites, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews (Sept. 1981) 
14/1 O'Malley, The Jesuits, St. Ignatius, and the Counter Reformation (Jan. 1982) 

14/2 Dulles, St. Ignatius and Jesuit Theological Tradition (Mar. 1982) 

14/4 Gray, An Experience in Ignatian Government (Sept. 1982) 

14/5 Ivern, The Future of Faith and Justice: Review of Decree Four (Nov. 1982) 

15/1 O'Malley, The Fourth Vow in Its Ignatian Context (Jan. 1983) 

15/2 Sullivan and Faricy, On Making the Spiritual Exercises for Renewal of Jesuit Charisms (Mar. 


15/3-4 Padberg, The Society True to Itself: A Brief History of the 32nd General Congregation of the 

Society of Jesus (May-Sept. 1983) 

15/5-16/1 Tetlow, Jesuits' Mission in Higher Education (Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984) 

16/2 O'Malley, To Travel to Any Part of the World: Jeronimo Nodal and the Jesuit Vocation (Mar. 


16/3 O'Hanlon, Integration of Christian Practices: A Western Christian Looks East (May 1984) 

16/4 Carlson, "A Faith Lived Out of Doors": Ongoing Formation (Sept. 1984) 

16/5 Kinerk, Eliciting Great Desires: Their Place in the Spirituality of the Society of Jesus (Nov. 1984) 

17/1 Spohn, St. Paul on Apostolic Celibacy and the Body of Christ (Jan. 1985) 

17/2 Daley, "In Ten Thousand Places": Christian Universality and the Jesuit Mission (Mar. 1985) 

17/3 Tetlow, Dialogue on the Sexual Maturing of Celibates (May 1985) 

17/4 Spohn, Coleman, Clarke, Henriot, Jesuits and Peacemaking (Sept. 1985) 

17/5 Kinerk, When Jesuits Pray: A Perspective on the Prayer of Apostolic Persons (Nov. 1985) 

18/1 Gelpi, The Converting Jesuit (Jan. 1986). 

18/2 Beirne, Compass and Catalyst: The Ministry of Administration. (Mar. 1986) 

18/3 McCormick, Bishops as Teachers and Jesuits as Listeners (May 1986) 

18/5 Tetlow, The Transformation of Jesuit Poverty (Nov. 1986). 

19/1 Staudenmaier, United States Technology and Adult Commitment (Jan. 1987) 

19/2 Appleyard, Languages We Use: Talking about Religious Experience (Mar. 1987) 

19/5 Endean, Who Do You Say Ignatius Is? Jesuit Fundamentalism and Beyond (Nov. 1987) 

20/1 Brackley, Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St. Ignatius's Two Standards (Jan. 1988) 

20/2 Padberg, How We Live Where We Live (Mar. 1988) 

20/3 Hayes, Padberg, Staudenmaier, Symbols, Devotions, and Jesuits (May 1988) 

20/4 McGovern, Jesuit Education and Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1988) 

20/5 Barry, Jesuit Formation Today: An Invitation to Dialogue and Involvement (Nov. 1988) 

21/1 Wilson, Where Do We Belong? United States Jesuits and Their Memberships (Jan. 1989) 

21/2 Demoustier, Calvez, et al., The Disturbing Subject: The Option for the Poor (Mar. 1989) 

21/3 Soukup, Jesuit Response to the Communication Revolution (May 1989) 

22/1 Carroll, The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (Jan. 1990) 

22/2 Bracken, Jesuit Spirituality from a Process Prospective (March 1990) 

22/3 Shepherd, Fire for a Weekend: An Experience of the Exercises (May 1990) 

22/4 O'Sullivan, Trust Your Feelings, but Use Your Head (Sept. 1990) 

22/5 Coleman, A Company of Critics: Jesuits and the Intellectual Life (Nov. 1990) 

23/1 Houdek, The Road Too Often Traveled (Jan. 1991) 

23/2 DiGiacomo, Ministering to the Young (March 1991) 

23/3 Begheyn and Bogart, A Bibliography on St. Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises (May 1991) 

23/4 Shelton, Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits (Sept. 1991) 

23/5 Toolan, "Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire" (Nov. 1991) 

24/1 Houdek, Jesuit Prayer and Jesuit Ministry: Context and Possibilities (Jan. 1992) 

24/2 Smolich, Testing the Water: Jesuits Accompanying the Poor (March 1992) 

24/3 Hassel, Jesus Christ Changing Yesterday, Today, and Forever (May 1992) 

24/4 Shelton, Toward Healthy Jesuit Community Living (Sept. 1992) 

24/5 Cook, Jesus' Parables and the Faith That Does Justice (Nov. 1992) 

25/2 Donahue, What Does the Lord Require? (March 1993)— ONCE AGAIN AVAILABLE 

25/3 Padberg, Ignatius, the Popes, and Realistic Reverence (May 1993) 

25/4 Stahel, Toward General Congregation 34 (Sept. 1993) 

25/5 Baldovin, Christian Liturgy: An Annotated Bibliography (Nov. 1993) 

26/1 Tetlow, The Most Postmodern Prayer (Jan. 1994) 

26/2 Murphy, The Many Ways of Justice (March 1994) 

26/3 Staudenmaier, To Fall in Love with the World (May 1994) 

26/4 Foley, Stepping into the River (Sept. 1994) 

26/5 Landy, Myths That Shape Us (Nov. 1994) 

27/1 Daley, "To Be More like Christ" (Jan. 1995) 

27/2 Schmidt, Portraits and Landscapes (March 1995) 

27/3 Stockhausen, I'd Love to, but I Don't Have the Time (May 1995) 

27/4 Anderson, Jesuits in Jail, Ignatius to the Present (Sept. 1995) 

27/5 Shelton, Friendship in Jesuit Life (Nov. 1995) 

28/1 Begheyn, Bibliography on the History of the Jesuits (Jan. 1996) 

28/2 Veale, Saint Ignatius Speaks about "Ignatian Prayer" (March 1996) 

28/3 Clooney, In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass (May 1996) 

28/4 Starkloff, "As Different As Night and Day" (Sept. 1996) 

28/5 Beckett, Listening to Our History (Nov. 1996) 

29/1 Hamm, Preaching Biblical Justice (Jan. 1997) 

29/2 Padberg, The Three Forgotten Founders (March 1997) 

29/3 Byrne, Jesuits and Parish Ministry (May 1997) 

29/4 Keenan, Are Informationes Ethical? (Sept. 1997) 

29/5 Ferlita, The Road to Bethlehem-Is It Level or Winding? (Nov. 1997) 

30/1 Shore, The Vita Christi of Ludolph of Saxony and Its Influence on the Spiritual Exercises of 

Ignatius of Loyola (Jan. 1998) 

30/2 Starkloff, "I'm No Theologian, but . . . (or So . . . J?" (March 1998) 

30/3 Torrens, The Word That Clamors (May 1998) 

30/4 Petrik, "Being Sent" (Sept. 1998) 

30/5 Jackson, "One and the Same Vocation" (Nov. 1998) 

31/1 Clifford, Scripture and the Exercises (Jan. 1999) 

31/2 Toohig, Physics Research, a Search for God (March 1999) 

31/3 Fagin, Fidelity in the Church— Then and Now (May 1999) 

31/4 Schineller, Pilgrim Journey of Ignatius (Sept. 1999) 

31/5 Fullam, Juana, S.J: Status of Women in the Society (Nov. 1999) 

32/1 Langan, The Good of Obedience in a Culture of Autonomy (Jan. 2000) 

32/2 Blake, Listen with Your Eyes (March 2000) 

32/3 Shelton, When a Jesuit Counsels Others (May 2000) 

32/4 Barry, Past, Present, and Future (Sept. 2000) 

32/5 Starkloff, Pilgrimage Re-envisioned (Nov. 2000) 

33/1 Kolvenbach et al., Faith, Justice, and American Jesuit Higher Education (Jan. 2001) 

33/2 Keenan, Unexpected Consequences: Parsons's Christian Directory (March 2001) 

33/3 Arrupe, Trinitarian Inspiration of the Ignatian Charism (May 2001) 

33/4 Veale, Saint Ignatius Asks, "Are You Sure You Know Who I Am?" (Sept. 2001) 

33/5 Barry and Keenan, How Multicultural Are We? (Nov. 2001) 

34/1 Blake, "City of the Living God" (Jan. 2002) 

34/2 Clooney, A Charism for Dialog (March 2002) 

34/3 Rehg, Christian Mindfulness (May 2002) 

34/4 Brackley, Expanding the Shrunken Soul (Sept. 2002) 

34/5 Bireley, The Jesuits and Politics in Time of War (Nov. 2002) 

35/1 Barry, Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life (Jan. 2003) 


by Carl F. Starkloff, S.J. 

The puzzle of "faith and culture," of "inculturation," has been with 
Christianity almost from its beginnings. Customs of the American Indians, (1724; 
English Translation 1974) by Joseph Lafitau, S.J., deals also with that puzzle. 
What he was struggling with was cut from the same cloth as the struggle of Las 
Casas, or Ricci, or Ramon Lull, or Bonifice or Gregory I or Augustine of 
Canterbury and back to the "Council of Jerusalem." 

Lafitau's work is a "classic" among ethnologists; researchers even today 
admire it as a gold mine for its wealth of data. 

Yet few theologians know of him or his work. Common Testimony : 
Ethnology and Theology in the Customs of Joseph Lafitau situiates him and his work 
among Native Americans and in France in the contexts of his times, deals with 
him as an ethnologist and as a "systematic theologian," and discusses his work in 
the light of the thought of two contemporary theologians on religion, Bernard 
Loner gan and Karl Rahner. 

The author of Common Testimony, Carl F. Starkloff, S.J., has combined a 
career as a systematic theologian with work among Native Americans. He has 
taught at Regis College of the Toronto School of Theology, at Rockhurst 
University and at Saint Louis University. Most recently he has been an associate 
editor at the Institute of Jesuit Sources and is presently vice-president for 
Missions and Ministry at Saint Louis University. 

xii + 218 pages, Index The Institute of Jesuit Sources 

ISBN 1-880810-44-1 3601 Lindell Blvd. 

$18.95 paperback St. Louis Mo, 63108 

Tel: 314-977-7257 Fax: 314-977-7263 IJS@SLU.EDU 



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